Rental cars offer the convenience and flexibility of personal transportation when you’re away from home, whether for travel, work, or other reasons. However, accidents can happen, even in a rental car.
Navigating the aftermath of such an incident can be daunting, especially when you’re unsure about the financial implications and the steps you need to take. Here is what you need to know about rental car accidents and what to do if you find yourself in such a situation.
Who Pays for a Rental Car Accident?
Car accidents can result in a host of damages, from thousands of dollars in property damage and medical bills to lost wages, rehabilitation programs, and pain and suffering. In Georgia, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy typically pays for the accident.
When a rental car is involved, however, the question of who pays can become more complicated. Depending on the situation, several insurance policies may provide coverage:
Your Auto Insurance Policy: If you have personal auto insurance, it’s essential to check whether your policy covers rental cars. Most auto insurance policies extend coverage to rental vehicles, but this isn’t always the case. If your policy includes rental car coverage, it may cover the damages incurred in the accident. However, be aware that this coverage might not encompass all scenarios, such as driving in certain geographical areas or specific types of vehicles.
The Rental Company’s Insurance Policy: When renting a car, you often have the option to purchase various insurance coverages from the rental company. These may include a collision damage waiver (CDW), supplemental liability coverage, and personal effects coverage. Each type of coverage offers different protections, from vehicle repair costs to medical expenses for injuries sustained in the accident. If you have purchased this coverage, it may be able to cover some of the costs.
Another Driver’s Insurance Policy: In cases where another driver is at fault for the accident, their insurance policy may be liable for the damages. Under these circumstances, the rental company might initially charge you for the damages but seeking compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance should be a priority.
What Steps Should You Take If You Crash a Rental Car?
If you find yourself in a rental car accident, immediate action is crucial. Firstly, seek medical attention, even if you do not feel injured. There is a possibility that you may have a traumatic brain injury or spinal injury. Then, contact the police to file an accident report, as this will be a critical document for any insurance claims. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved. Documenting the scene extensively through photographs, including visible injuries, vehicle damage, and the overall scene, is also important.
Next, inform the rental agency about the accident. They will guide you on handling the damaged vehicle and the process for filing an insurance claim. Then, contact an Augusta car accident attorney as soon as possible to learn about your legal options and determine which type of claim is right for your case.
Should You Contact an Attorney About Your Case?
Rental car accident cases can often become entangled in a web of complex liability and insurance issues. An attorney can provide valuable assistance in these scenarios, helping you understand the specifics of your coverage, advocating on your behalf, and fighting for the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been involved in a rental car accident in Georgia, contact an attorney and take your first step toward protecting your rights and interests.