Renting a car, whether for business, travel, or leisure, often seems straightforward until an unexpected accident occurs. In these situations, determining who is at fault and liable for damages and injuries can become a complex matter.
California is a fault accident state, which means that the person responsible for the accident is also responsible for the damages. However, when a rental car is involved, the process of determining liability involves several layers and multiple types of insurance coverage.
When you rent a vehicle, the rental company may offer you the option of purchasing different types of rental car insurance. While this insurance is optional, it is highly recommended that you purchase coverage before your trip in case of an unexpected accident.
These policies may include:
Each of these options has its specificities and may or may not duplicate the coverage you already have under your personal car insurance policy. It is important to review the details of each policy carefully so that you can fully understand your responsibilities and coverage.
If you are involved in a rental car accident, the insurance coverage that you purchased will likely cover some of the costs. If you do not have this coverage or if it does not pay for the entirety of the costs, you may be responsible for paying for the damage through your own personal insurance policy. Many policies cover accidents involving a rental car, though there are exceptions, particularly with rentals for business purposes.
If the accident was caused by another party, their insurance is typically expected to cover the damages. However, you might face initial financial responsibilities until the claims are settled.
After being involved in a rental car accident, it is important to remain calm and call 911 to report the collision. Next, seek immediate medical care to address any potential injuries. It’s also important to gather evidence at the scene of the accident; take photos of the vehicles, the surrounding area, and any relevant road signs or signals.
Following this, contact the rental car company to inform them of the incident. They will provide instructions on how to proceed with the vehicle. Then, contact a San Francisco car accident lawyer to discuss your options. An attorney can help you determine who is liable for the collision and take your first steps toward financial recovery.