Renting a car is a great thing if you’re in a new city and want to comfortably explore the place. A rental car is a pricy pleasure and the last thing you’d want is to end up in a car accident and ruin your vacation.
However, things like this happen and people do end in crashes with rented cars.
What should you do in such a case? Who will cover the damages? There are millions of questions going on through your head and it’s normal that you’re worried and stressed.
If such an accident happened to you in New Mexico, be sure to seek help from a skilled car accident attorney.
Evaluate the situation
Make sure that you and everyone else involved in the crash are well. Call 911 if there are injured people. If you can, move to a safer location, call the police to report the accident. This is pretty much the same as in an accident that might happen if you own the vehicle.
Exchange Information and Get Evidence
Exchange information with the other driver and injured people. Take photos of the accident, injuries, location, traffic signs, weather, and check if there are any surveillance cameras.
Ask the police officer for a copy of the accident report. Write down the police officer name, contact info and badge number.
Call The Rental Company
The rental company will give you their emergency phone number in case of an accident. Call this number and ask them what you should do; where should you bring the car if it can be driven and where should you tow it if it’s not. Talk to the customer service representative and take their name, phone number and write down the time and date.
Call Your Insurers
File a claim as fast as possible through your personal auto insurer or credit card company. Insurance companies will likely deny a claim that is filed too late and this is especially likely with credit card insurance coverage.
You’re Responsible for the Car
When you rent the car, you’re responsible for the vehicle during the rental period. If the car is driveable, drive it back to the rental office; in case the car cannot be driven, call roadside assistance to help you relocate the vehicle to the rental company location or a shop.
File a Report With the Rental Company
You’ll have to file a report with the rental company stating details about the accident, involved parties and your insurance information. This info is much needed in the further process.
If you’re at fault for the crash, you will have to cover the damages but this will depend on your insurance coverage.
Collision Damage Waiver
If you get the collision damage waiver at the rental company, you have coverage. Unless the rental car crash happened because of reckless driving or a breach of the rental agreement, the damage waiver moves most of the cost to repair or replace the vehicle to the rental company.
The damage waivers don’t cover responsibility for medical expenses or property for you or other involved parties in the accident. This will be covered by your insurance.
If you already have insurance then you already know that most policies cover rentals. Make sure to check for the limits of your policy.
In case you aren’t covered with car insurance and the crash happened because of your fault, you have the responsibility for the damages that were done to the rented car and for any liability issues. In case the crash wasn’t your fault, your rental company will address the other driver’s insurance company.
You can expect the rental company to charge you before the dispute is over. In case this happens, you are the one who will have to deal with the insurance company of the other driver to get compensated.
Don’t forget that driving a rental car without any insurance coverage isn’t legal.
Hire an Attorney
Any car accident can be stressful and complex and when that happens with a vehicle you rented, things may become twice as more stressful. If you fear that things might become confusing or complex, it’s always a good idea to hire a car accident attorney who has experience with such cases.
No matter whose fault it was, a car accident will review your case and help you with the further steps. Our team at FBD Law offers a free consultation. If you have any questions related to your rental car crash, free free to call us.