Dealing with an auto accident in California is never easy, especially if you were in a rental car. Even though it is not your car, you should handle the accident much like with your own vehicle. Here are some tips to help you get through a rental car accident with as little stress and worry as possible.
Assess for injuries
Immediately following an accident in a rental car, the first thing you should do is make sure no one is hurt. If you have suffered a personal injury, or if there are passengers injured, you will need to call for an ambulance and the police. You’ll also want to move the vehicles off the road if there are no serious injuries and it is safe to do so.
Use your cellphone to take pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident and the surroundings. It will be important to document all damage and the position of the cars on the road to help determine fault.
Do not admit fault
While you might want to express your regretful feelings about an accident, it is never a good idea. Do not apologize to the other driver or state that you were responsible. Admitting guilt could put you in a position to be charged with an accident that was actually not your fault.
Call the rental car company
You will need to make a phone call to the rental car company as soon as possible to let them know what has happened. If you have a police report, you will want to give the rental car company a copy.
Contact your insurance company
Report the accident to your personal auto insurance company and ask whether your policy covers accidents in rental cars. Ideally, you will ask these questions before you ever rent a car. However, it will be important to know your policy limits and what insurers will pay for as soon as they can inspect the vehicle.
If you feel as though your insurance company is treating you unfairly, or if it is unwilling to help with medical bills, you might want to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorney may provide guidance in your case and act as an advocate to protect your rights as an insured driver.