Imagine you rent a car for your family vacation, or you rent a car because of ongoing repairs to your personal vehicle, when suddenly, through no fault of your own, you are struck by another driver! After you check to make sure everyone is okay, the gravity of the situation sets in. You may be worried about the additional stress of being involved in a rental car accident, but don’t worry. There are some specific steps you can take to minimize the hassle.
Benchmark Injury Law is a California personal injury law firm dedicated to helping those who have been seriously injured in an accident, including an accident involving a rental car. Shaun Phillips has extensive experience in personal injury cases and can help you understand what to do after being involved in a rental car accident.
Steps to Take After a California Rental Car Accident
As with any accident, stress is unavoidable. However, here are some specific steps that you can take to minimize the stress and help protect your rights to pursue a claim for your injuries.
Document the Incident
Evidence is key in any legal case, and rental car accidents are no exception. You must preserve as much evidence as possible to prove the other party’s liability and to prove your injuries and damages. A great place to start is by contacting the police after a rental car accident, especially where there are serious injuries. Responding officers will generally conduct an investigation, which may include photographs and dash cam or body cam footage, measurements of the physical evidence, and statements from involved parties and witnesses. This information will be recorded in a report, which you will be able to obtain later on. You may also conduct your own investigation, which should include the following:
- Name, address, and phone number of all involved parties and witnesses
- All automobile insurance company and policy information
- Driver’s license numbers of involved parties
- License plate numbers of involved vehicles
- Photographs and/or video of the vehicles, persons, and scene of the accident.
If you or anyone else involved has visible injuries, you should photograph the injuries. As well, if you identify or are approached by any witnesses, try to get a brief statement from the witness or witnesses, which includes their observations before, during, and after the accident. This information will be highly relevant later on.
Contact the Rental Company
You are required to notify the rental company of the accident so that the rental company has the opportunity to protect its property and minimize any damages to the rental vehicle. As well, you may have opted to purchase insurance – property damage and/or bodily injury – from the rental car company, and the claim must be presented to that insurance company. However, you should contact an attorney first! A lawyer can communicate on your behalf, framing your case in the most favorable way, and can assist in completing the oftentimes arduous insurance claim process.
Can You Collect Damages After a Rental Car Accident in California?
If you sustained an injury in a rental car accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. How much compensation you may be entitled to varies on the type of case and your specific injuries. However, generally, you can collect the following damages:
- Lost income, both past and future
- Medical expenses, both past and future
- The replacement value of any damaged personal property
- Pain and suffering.
If you are unsure what damages you may be able to obtain via a personal injury claim, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer may be able to help by going over the specific details of your case.
Contact a California Rental Car Accident Lawyer Today
Benchmark Injury Law is a values-based personal injury law firm helping clients in Irvine, California, who have been injured in a rental car accident. The legal team takes a unique approach to helping clients by providing the personalized attention and service required to win your case and to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.