If you’ve flown into California for business or vacation, you’ll probably end up renting a car for transportation during your stay. Unfortunately, no matter how good of a driver you are, an accident is always a possibility. This makes it very important for drivers of rental cars to know what steps to take after being involved in an accident while driving a rental car in California.
What to Do Immediately Following a Rental Car Accident in Manhattan Beach
The steps you take immediately following an automobile accident are the same you’d take anywhere regardless of whether the vehicle is rental or not:
- Don’t leave the scene of the accident.
- Make sure everyone is okay. Render reasonable assistance to anyone who’s been injured. Call 911 if there are serious injuries; call the police as well.
- Exchange information with the other persons involved – driver’s license, insurance, etc. If you’ve hit a parked vehicle and don’t know who the owner is, leave a note.
- Other than that, it’s advisable that you don’t make any statements. Don’t apologize or say anything to accept any liability for the accident. Don’t post about the accident on social media. Anything you say could be used to prove fault in the accident claim.
- Gather evidence — take pictures, get the names and contact information of witnesses — anything that will help prove your side of the story.
- Try to clear your vehicle out of the roadway to prevent any more accidents. If you can’t move it, call a tow truck.
- Seek medical evaluation and treatment for any injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Even if you do not feel injured, make sure to have a medical professional assess you.
- Contact the rental company and inform them of the accident.
Who’s Liable after a Manhattan Beach Rental Car Accident?
Before you get behind the wheel of that rental car, make sure that you’re properly insured. California is a comparative negligence state, which means any compensation you recover following an accident will be reduced by the percentage of liability you had in the accident.
For instance, if your total damages were $100,000 and it was determined you shared 25 percent of the responsibility for the accident, you’ll only be able to collect $75,000.
Are You Covered?
You’ll want to make sure you have the right type of insurance. Third party liability insurance is the only required insurance coverage when renting cars in California.
If you shared no responsibility for the accident, the other driver’s insurance company may be liable for any injuries or damages to the rental vehicle.
In a lot of cases, your personal vehicle insurance may cover the damage. Read your policy to make sure.
Most rental car companies offer supplemental rental insurance. Supplemental rental insurance waives some or all of a driver’s responsibility to pay for damages after an accident.
If you use a credit card to pay for your rental car, some credit card companies offer credit card insurance on rentals such as collision damage waivers. Read the fine print. In a lot of cases, these policies only cover damage to the rental car — but not the cost of personal injuries or damages to the other vehicle.
Never Accept an Insurance Company Settlement until You’ve Spoken with an Attorney
Some words of advice: never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without speaking to a personal injury attorney first. The insurance companies aren’t interested in helping you. You’re just a problem they want to get rid of as quickly and cheaply as possible. Their offers rarely provide for the total losses and costs related to your injuries.
Top Rated Manhattan Beach Automobile Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in a rental car accident in Manhattan Beach that was the fault of another driver, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. The car accident attorneys at Dinsmore & Sandelmann are here to help protect your rights after an accident.
Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to secure compensation for the medical bills, pain and suffering, economic losses and other damages resulting from your accident. Contact us today to speak with one of our highly experienced Manhattan Beach rental car accident attorneys about your case.