Getting into a rental car accident can lead to an even more confusing insurance claims process than a typical car accident. Since you do not own or lease the vehicle, you may not know who is responsible for paying for the crash. Knowing how to handle the recovery and claims processes after a rental car accident in Denver can help you protect your rights in this situation.
Immediate Steps to Take at the Scene of the Accident
As is the case after any car accident, there are certain steps you should take immediately following a rental car crash. You are legally required to carry out certain actions after a car accident under Colorado law. You should always take the following steps after a rental car crash:
- Check yourself, your passengers and the people in the other vehicle to see if anyone is injured.
- Move your disabled rental vehicle to a safe location away from the road, if possible.
- Call law enforcement to report a rental car crash that results in injuries, deaths or property damage.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with other driver(s) involved.
- If there were any witnesses, including vehicle passengers, write down their names and phone numbers.
- Take pictures of the crash and any damage to your rental car while you are still at the scene.
- Write down your police report number before you leave.
- Go to a hospital in Denver immediately to seek treatment for any injuries.
Some of these steps should be taken for insurance purposes; no matter whose car insurance ends up paying for the rental car accident, the insurance carrier will analyze what you did and did not do after an accident to determine if you qualify for coverage. If you suffered an injury after the car accident, get legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney in Aurora for help seeking compensation.
Contact the Rental Car Company
Your next action is to contact the rental car company. You should find the contact information for the rental provider in the paperwork that was given to you as part of your rental agreement. Inform the rental car company immediately about the crash and ask them what you should do next.
It is very important to follow the rental company’s policies for how to respond to a car accident. If you deviate from their instructions, you could face fines from the rental company as well as problems during the insurance claims process. Report the car accident to the rental company but do not admit fault or apologize for the crash.
Admitting fault at any stage of the recovery process could diminish or even eliminate your financial recovery. The rental car company may ask to have the vehicle towed to a certain location, such as a nearby rental car location or an approved auto shop. You may also need to complete an accident report form from the rental car company.
Call Your Insurance Company After The Car Accident
Contact your own car insurance company to begin the claims process. Ask if your personal policy has coverage in the event of a rental car accident. If you did not cause the car accident, the other driver’s insurance will pay. This is how Colorado’s fault insurance system works. You will need to bring a claim with the other driver’s insurance company to pay for your medical bills, while the rental car company can file a claim for property damage.
If you purchased rental car insurance when you rented the vehicle, the rental car company will help you file a claim. Most rental car insurance policies mirror the coverage found in traditional policies. This includes coverage to repair vehicle damage or replace a totaled car. If you did not purchase rental car insurance, you may have a credit card company that will pay. Some credit card issuers offer limited collision coverage for rental vehicles. Call your credit card company to find out if this is an option.
For legal advice and assistance after a rental car accident in Colorado, reach out to an Aurora car accident attorney. Contact an attorney at Manning Law as soon as possible after your accident for a free consultation.