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You may have rented a car for work, because you’re out of state, because your vehicle is in the shop or for a whole host of other reasons. When you get in an accident in a rental car, you might be wondering what the implications are. In some cases, the rental car company may have been the one to blame for your accident.

Here are steps to take after an accident in a rental vehicle, and how to determine whether or not the negligence of the rental car company is to blame.

What to Do After an Accident in a Rental Vehicle

When you drive in a rental car, you should be prepared to take similar steps that you would if you were in an accident while driving your own car.

Get Help

If you or someone in your vehicle is seriously injured, you should contact emergency medical services. Dialing 911 is wise, anyway, since police can come to the scene and file a police report that documents the damage. You should take any offer for medical attention you receive, even if you don’t feel your injury is serious. It could be more damaging than you realize.

Steps to Take After a Rental Vehicle AccidentDocument the Scene

If you’re able to, take photos of the cars involved in the accident. Or, ask someone else for help in doing so. If there are witnesses at the accident scene, ask for their contact information and for them to stay at the scene to talk to police. Request a copy of the police report.

Exchange Contact Information

Get the full name, phone number, email address and insurance information of all other drivers involved. Do not state that you are driving a rental car. In some cases, stating this information could be damaging. For example, another party may accuse you of driving recklessly because you weren’t in your own vehicle.

Contact the Rental Car Company

Get in touch with the rental car company about the accident. There might be instructions in your paperwork or within the car about which number to call. If you can’t find a specific number to call, contact the rental car office where you got the car. You will need to fill out an accident report with the rental car company. Before you drive the rental car, it’s a good idea to look over information about what to do after an accident, as well as to read through insurance the rental company provides.

Call Your Insurance Company

You should get in contact with your insurance company as soon as possible, as well. In some cases, you may want to contact a Birmingham car accident attorney before you contact your insurance company. If you suspect another party’s negligence was to blame for the accident, including the car rental company that may have provided you with a dangerous vehicle, an attorney can advise you on what to say to your insurance company.

Keep Track of Medical Records

You should keep organized medical records and document your pain and injuries as they progress. This type of information can be beneficial if you decide to pursue a car accident lawsuit later.

In most cases, the rental car company is not liable for damages. Payment for those will be provided by your insurance company, and possibly by the insurance company of other parties involved in the accident.

In some cases, it is the car rental company that put you in danger or contributed to the cause of the accident. When that happens, you may choose to file a lawsuit against the rental car company with help from a Birmingham car accident lawyer.

Steps to Take After a Rental Vehicle AccidentWhen a Rental Car Company May Be Negligent

When you use the vehicle of a rental car company, you are putting your health and safety in the hands of a vehicle someone else is providing you. Rental car companies have a responsibility to keep their customers safe. Some examples of rental car company negligence include:

  • The rental vehicle has not been properly maintained, including having a faulty brake system
  • The rental vehicle has a defective part in it, like defective tires or a recalled part
  • The rental car company has received complaints about a vehicle but has failed to inspect those

When a rental car company knows there is a dangerous element in a vehicle and rents it out anyway, it may be deemed negligent. When you’re in a serious car accident due to negligence that results in medical treatment, hospital bills, time missed off work and the like, you deserve full compensation.

Don’t assume a car accident is your fault or the fault of another driver. If you suspect an element in your rental vehicle made it dangerous to drive, contact a car accident attorney for a free consultation.

Pittman Dutton and Hellums

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