Rental Car Crashes: Five First Steps to Consider

Crashing a rental car can be a real nightmare!  Getting into a crash in your own car creates enough stress and legal problems, but if you have to deal with a rental agency, your insurance company, and the other party, you may be totally overwhelmed.  Not only are there practical tips you can follow, but you can be prepared for the worst.  Follow these steps if you are involved in an accident while driving a rental car:

  1. Don’t Leave

If you crashed into another vehicle, do not leave the scene.  Even if no one is hurt, you may still be charged with a criminal hit-and-run violation if you leave the scene, compounding your already less-than-stellar rental car experience.  If anyone appears hurt, call 911, regardless of whether he/she was riding in your car or not.

  1. Exchange Information.

Once you get to a safe spot, you need to exchange information with the other driver(s).  This means the driver’s license information, license plates, names, numbers, and insurance information.  It does not mean telling the other driver(s) you were at fault or apologizing for the wreck.  Even if you purchased rental car insurance, provide others with your own insurance policy information.

  1. Call Your Rental Car Company and Your Own Auto Insurance Carrier

Once you’ve contacted the police and exchanged information with the other driver, you must notify your rental car company of the accident.  The emergency number will be on your rental car information or inside the car’s glove compartment. You should also call your insurance company and report the accident.

  1. Collect Insurance Information

Gather up your information from the rental car agreement, your personal car insurance, and other possible sources.  Rental companies often offer rental car insurance before you start driving, so if you purchased it, check your policy documents.  Even if you didn’t, your credit card may provide you with rental car insurance, assuming you paid for the rental with that card.

  1. Contact Your Attorney

Perhaps the most important step you need to take to ensure that you are not taken advantage of is to call an experienced car accident attorney.  A lawyer will be able to sort out the legal issues of your insurance and rental company policies, making sure you don’t pay any more than you have to.  I am a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of experience in helping the injured, proudly serving the people of Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, and Okeechobee.  Call me for a free case analysis and evaluation.

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