What Do I Do If I’ve Been Injured In A Rental Car Accident?
Whether you are taking a business trip or going on the road trip of your dreams, a car accident in a rental car can be really stressful. After the accident, you may be left wondering how do you report the accident? Who pays for the car? Who pays for your injuries? At Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh, we’ve seen all kinds of car accidents in our decades of legal experience. Accidents with rental cars can seem very confusing for our clients, but overall they work very similarly to a regular car accident. It all comes down to the details of the accident and the type of insurance coverage. Here’s what to do if you’ve been injured in a rental car accident.
Get Medical Treatment Immediately
If your injuries are severe, you need to go to the hospital immediately following an accident. Everything else can wait when you are injured. The most important thing you need to worry about is protecting your health and safety.
What To Do At The Scene Of The Accident
If your injuries are not severe enough that you need immediate medical attention there are some first steps to take after the car accident:
• If necessary, move your vehicles to a safe area
• Call the police and file an accident report
• Exchange information with the other driver and any witnesses
• Take pictures of the accident, the road, injuries, and any property damage
• Contact the rental car company and let them know what happened and ask how to proceed next
• If your insurance company provides rental car insurance, contact them and let them know about the accident and ask how to proceed
In most cases, the rental car company will instruct you on how to proceed through the claim process.
Who Pays For The Damages After A Rental Car Accident?
Once you’ve filed the claim, the next step is to establish liability to determine who pays for the damages. In Florida, rental car companies are not held accountable for accidents by default. There are exceptions to this rule such as mechanical failures that caused the accident, but in general, it will be covered by the drivers involved in the accident. If you bought the full coverage insurance when you rented the car, most likely you will not have to worry. However, if you did not, the determination of who pays depends on who is at fault.
Determining Fault In A Rental Car Accident
Florida is basically a split fault state, meaning that when you are in an accident insurance companies and courts split the fault between the two drivers. They do this on a percentage system, meaning if they determine that you are 10% at fault and the total damages are $10,000, you only receive $9000. This applies exactly the same with rental cars. That is why after an accident with a rental car it’s critical you hire an attorney to make sure that you don’t end up having to pay out of pocket for the damages to the rental when the accident wasn’t your fault.
How An Attorney Can Help In A Rental Car Accident
First, since there are multiple insurance carriers at play from your insurance company, to any supplemental insurance coverage you got through the rental company or even your credit card, an attorney will help you determine where to make the claim. Secondly, an attorney can help provide liability in an accident, so you aren’t having to cover damages you didn’t cause. Finally, an attorney will fight for a fair settlement to cover both your injuries and the cost of repairs to the rental car.
At Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh, we have helped hundreds of South Florida drivers after a rental car accident. Our legal knowledge and expertise can help ensure you are protected after your accident. Give us a call today for a free case evaluation to learn how we can help you.