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It’s hard enough when someone hits your own car, but getting into a crash in a rental raises other concerns. Unfortunately, your odds of having an accident might increase in a rental, as Claims Journal reports that these vehicles experience a higher collision rate than nonrentals.

As with other mishaps, you have the right to justice when someone else causes you undue harm. Learn the steps you can take after a not-at-fault accident in a rental car.

1. Get to a Safe Spot

After a rental car accident where you’re not at fault, your first priority should be to ensure your safety and that of those with you. Move to the side of the road out of the way of oncoming traffic. If moving the vehicle is not possible, set up road flares or reflectors that can let travelers know to proceed past the area with caution.

You might also check on the people in the other vehicle to see if they need any assistance. However, when communicating with the other parties, avoid saying things like, “I’m fine” or “Nobody’s hurt.” You or your passengers might have underlying injuries, and you don’t want to give anyone a reason to dispute your claim.

2. Contact the Authorities and First Responders

Not-at-fault accident in a rental car

In accidents with property damage over $2,000 or any bodily injuries, you must alert the authorities immediately, so call 911. Even when the harm seems relatively minor, notifying the police and medical professionals serves as a safeguard. An official report lays a solid foundation for you to take legal action and prove you were not at fault in the rental car.

3. Obtain Information and Evidence

Attempt to exchange contact information with any other drivers who were parties to the incident. This includes:

  • Names and addresses
  • Phone numbers and email addresses
  • Insurance policy numbers and vehicle registration
  • License plates and driver’s license numbers

Take pictures and videos of the scene to record vehicle damage and road conditions. If anyone else witnessed the event, you could try to get a statement and their contact information to follow up.

You should also get the police report and copies of any citations the police issue at the scene. Obtaining the official police report generally takes at least two weeks in Maricopa cities such as Avondale and Gilbert, so set a reminder to do that.

5. Contact the Rental Car Agency

You need to let the rental car company know about the incident as soon as possible. Delaying might raise suspicions about whether you truly were not at fault for the accident in the rental car. They can give you direction on how to proceed with your claim. If you purchased collision coverage from the company, that might be enough to handle things, but don’t jump to that conclusion until you’ve reviewed all of the facts.

As with anyone else, avoid saying things that could make it sound like you were liable for the accident, such as apologizing. Stick to the facts and don’t hesitate to say “I don’t know” about details you aren’t sure about.

6. Contact Your Insurance Company

As with the rental agency, you need to notify your insurance company without going into unnecessary detail. One point you could verify is what your policy covers regarding rental vehicles since you might not remember at the moment.

You should also check what your deductible is. You might use that to handle repairs or property replacement while you wait for reimbursement from your personal injury case.

7. Pursue Your Claim

Two attorneys discuss a rental car accident not at fault case.

After you’ve covered the preceding steps, you can begin the process of formally filing your claim. This is where the assistance of a competent attorney can prove invaluable.

Establish Liability

You need to provide proof of which parties caused the accident and their percentage of liability. This establishes that you are not at fault for the accident in the rental car and how much any other party is responsible for paying you.

Don’t forget that the liable parties could be multiple individuals or entities, so you’ll need to do a thorough investigation. Your lawyer will help you with this so you can focus on recuperating.

Prove Your Damages

You also need to demonstrate what your losses are from the crash. This will include economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic losses are specific current and future expenses, like lost wages, the repair or replacement of personal property, health care treatments, and medical equipment. You’ll need strong evidence to demonstrate what these items will cost you in the future so that you can claim those expenses, too.

If the accident caused you or your loved ones any mental or emotional harm, you can also recover those noneconomic damages. These are harder to calculate, but our firm can help you determine the value of these other intangible losses.

File Within the Time Limit

You might have been renting a vehicle while taking a vacation, working on a business trip, or waiting for your car to get out of the shop. Either way, you have many distractions and responsibilities that can hinder you from taking prompt action on a not-at-fault accident in a rental car. Don’t delay in gathering evidence, and file your claim on time. An attorney’s assistance can keep you on track.

Negotiate With the Appropriate Parties

Most personal injury cases don’t have to go to court, but that requires bargaining for a fair deal with the insurance company. Be aware that insurers look for any reason to reject or reduce your claim to pay as little as possible. They also have strategies for getting you to say things that make it look like you’re responsible for your injuries.

Fortunately, your attorney will communicate and negotiate with the insurance company for you. At Sargon Law Group, we can do just that to help you get justice.

Contact Sargon Law Group for Guidance

Man calling after an accident with a rental car.

Making a claim for a not-at-fault accident in a rental car doesn’t have to be unbearably stressful. Our accident lawyers at Sargon Law Group will help you get through the process to recover what you deserve. Contact our team for a free consultation to get started.