If you have been involved in a car accident with a rental car, you might be a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out who is at fault, or how to get the compensation you deserve.
Chances are, if you are involved in an accident in a rental car, you are only in town on vacation or for work. Conversely, if you are hit by someone in a rental car, they are likely from out of town. This factor combined with the dealing with insurance companies adds to the complexity of your case and can make taking the next steps confusing.
At Anderson Hemmat, we have over 40 years of experience helping victims of rental car accidents in Colorado get the compensation they deserve.
We created this guide to help you understand your situation, what steps to take next, how to maximize your compensation, and what steps to take next if you have been in an accident with a rental.
8 Things You Should Do Immediately After Your Colorado Rental Car Accident
Immediately after your accident, you will want to document certain information in order to help your case. There are 7 main things you need to do after your accident to give you the best chance of getting compensation moving forward:
1. Check for Injuries & Document Information
Check for injuries to yourself, your passengers, and any other people involved. Call in the accident immediately via 9-1-1 and document the injuries with pictures, if possible. You will want to photograph things like:
- Your car
- The location
- The other car involved
- The surrounding area
Make sure that you do not take any photos or videos of the other victim unless you have their permission. Even the, be sure to get a video of them giving verbal permission to you so that any evidence you do capture can hold up in court.
2. Get Contact Information
You will need to exchange information with the other drivers including their contact information, insurance information, and any rental car information too. It is best to take pictures of any damages to document them for later. Be sure to also get contact information for any witnesses as well and see if you can get videos or written statements from them of what happened.
3. Give A Statement
When the police arrive at the scene, you will need to give your statement. Be sure to write down the names and badge numbers of the police officers who were present and be on the lookout for a copy of your police report. You may have to request it later, but it will help you with your case.
4. Contact Your Rental Car Company
If you were the one driving the rental car, you will need to inform them immediately about the accident and ask them what they want you to do next. Following the company policies that they have in place is very important, as it can prevent you from getting fines and fees from them, and also can help the rest of your case.
5. Contact Your Insurance Company
You will need to contact your car insurance company in order to make a claim. Ask them if your policy covers additional collision coverage in the event of an accident with a rental car. You likely had to buy liability coverage for Colorado rental cars, but it is good to know whether your personal insurance can cover any remaining costs.
Sometimes, things like this can get confusing because many car insurance companies have limited to no coverage for this type of accident. On top of that, if they do, there can be a hierarchy of which claim is made first, and how much each policy covers.
Therefore, it is very important to work with a Colorado Rental Car Accident Attorney who can help you make the right claims, get access to the right information, and work with insurance companies on your behalf to get the right results.
6. Review Your Car Insurance Policy
With rental cars, your personal insurance company will have to pay the rental car company if you have what is called “first-party” coverage. This will be done regardless of who was at fault. If you were at fault, you will have to pay the rental car company the deductible. If the other driver was at fault, your insurance will pay after their insurance.
Review the policy with the rental car company. In some cases, the extra insurance will cover any and all costs for the accident, but you might still have to pay your personal car insurance deductible.
If you used your credit card for the rental car, call them and see if they have rental car insurance. Some credit card companies may have this whereby they agree to pay for damages that happen to a rental car. In almost all cases this does not extend to liability coverage, so it won’t apply to damages to any other vehicles.
7. Get A Medical Examination
In almost all cases, the rental car insurance will cover the costs of the damage to the car, however, you should check for a collision waiver. If you signed that, it releases you from the costs of the physical damages. However, medical bills and injuries are an entirely different story and for these, you will still need to file a separate claim regardless of who was at fault.
Always get checked out by a physician after a car accident. This helps to make sure you do not have any immediate injuries, but also opens up the door for soft tissue damage and other types of long-term injuries that can arise months or even years after a major accident.
Without going to the doctor and getting checked out after your accident, it can be hard to prove that any injuries you sustained came from the accident, and you will have a hard time getting compensation for them.
8. Speak to a Colorado Car Accident Attorney
Once you have done all these steps, it is very important that you speak with an experienced attorney who can help analyze your case, understand the situation, and point you in the right direction moving forward.
Even if you and the other driver are insured, a lot of things can get very complicated or go wrong in the process. For instance, the State of Colorado has a Statute of Limitations for reporting car accidents. If you do not report a personal injury or car accident properly within the first-time frame, you may never be able to get compensation or even the insurance money you deserve.
On top of that, insurance companies will do just about anything to not payout. You better believe that if you try to do the process yourself, that they will do everything in their power to delay the process until you can no longer make a claim. Attorneys have access to information and resources that can insurance companies act.
The best part? Attorneys don’t cost a single cent until you win your case and get the compensation you deserve for your Colorado rental car accident. They can help answer your questions, advise you on the process, and help you get the most out of your claim.
3 Tips for Maximizing Your Compensation
In order to maximize the compensation you are entitled to, you need as much proof as possible to substantiate your claim. The more evidence you can gather at the time of the accident, the better it will be for your case. Overall, there are three tips you should follow to maximize compensation:
1. Work with A Colorado Rental Car Accident Attorney
Working with an attorney is imperative. Suing an insurance company is hard enough on your own but suing a rental car company on top of that can be like going to war.
There are many things that can go wrong if you try to handle the case yourself. Insurance companies are taught not to payout and they take advantage of those who try to handle cases on their own by offering low settlements, taking statements during what are perceived as casual phone calls, and then using that against you. Having a professional represent you ensures that you get the better end of the deal and don’t get taken advantage of by rental and insurance companies.
2. Document the Accident as Much as Possible
Immediately after the accident, you need to document as much as possible. Use your cell phone to take information including pictures of the damage inside and out for all cars and property involved. Modern cell phone pictures will have the geotags and time/date stamps built into the file.
This will help prove the timing of your case and the damages sustained at the time of impact. You should also document the personal/contact information of the other drivers and any passengers or witnesses.
If possible, take pictures of the injuries too so that you can present them to a doctor down the line as necessary.
3. Always Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident
This is imperative after an accident. The sooner you go to the doctor for an evaluation, the sooner you can get medical treatment. If, later in your case, it is found that you sustained injuries but a) did not go to the doctor or b) did not follow through with their treatment advice, it will work against your case.
This would constitute a failure on your part to do what is required of you after an accident. The idea here is that if you don’t get medical attention, the injuries could end up worse than they needed to be and therefore the compensation you want is not the responsibility of the at-fault driver because you are partially at fault for your failure to get treatment immediately.
Colorado Rental Car Accidents FAQ
At Anderson Hemmat, we get a lot of questions about rental car accidents. We know that these can be some of the more confusing and inopportune car accidents in life, and wanted to take the time to answer some additional questions you may have:
What does my rental car insurance cover?
This depends on the extent of the liability insurance you were given from the rental company. In most cases, it will cover physical damages to the vehicle itself but nothing more. This means that any injuries you sustain, or any personal property damage will not be covered by the rental car company.
Is Colorado a no-fault state for car accidents?
No. In 2003, the state changed to an “at fault” state which allows victims of car accidents to seek damages in one of three different ways:
- Filing a claim with your insurance company if the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage, or has less than they need (under-insured)
- Filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Filing a personal lawsuit against the at-fault driver
In order to award damages, Colorado uses what is called modified comparative negligence theory. Basically, this is lawyer jargon that means each party is owed compensation based on their level of fault in the accident.
In order to receive compensation, it must be ruled that you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. From there, you are awarded compensation based on your percentage of fault. For example, if there is a case where you are awarded $50,000 in compensation but are ruled to be 10% at fault, your final compensation will be $45,000.
When is the rental company liable?
Rarely is the rental car company itself liable. Instead, just like any other car accident, if the other party is found liable, they (as the driver) are held responsible. However, if the accident was the result of, or the impacts were made worse by, a dangerous defect in the rental car that the company knew about but did not fix, then they can be held responsible.
How long does it take for an insurance claim in a rental car accident?
If you were involved in an accident with a driver who had a rental car, you can, for example, hold the at-fault driver’s personal insurance responsible or hold the rental car company insurance responsible if the renter had liability coverage.
If the rental car was paid for with a credit card, the card company will sometimes offer collision coverage, but this does not extend to your medical bills. So, the length of time required for each case is based on how many factors are involved, whether the other party fights it, and what insurance you are using.
Typically speaking, insurance claims for rental car accidents in Colorado take an average of 6-18 months to payout but can take longer in some cases.
What’s the process like?
The insurance claim process usually looks like this:
- You file the claim, where you submit your side of the story to the courts
- The claim names the person or insurance company responsible, so they have a few months to respond with their side of the story
- They can either choose to fight the claim or settle out of court
- If they fight it, you have to prove that the accident was the fault of the other driver or a defect in the rental car (depending on your case)
- If all else fails to reach a settlement, the case will go to court
More often than not, people and insurance companies will choose to settle out of court because it typically costs them less, and also saves them a lot of time. On average, about 80% or more cases are settled out of court.
How can a Colorado Rental Car Accident Attorney help?
There are different coverage options when you file your claim. If you are specifically suing the company because the driver has a revoked license for multiple DUI’s and the company failed to check, an attorney can get DMV records and access other evidence that as a civilian you wouldn’t be able to do.
More importantly, having an attorney by your side gives you the chance to explore all of your options thoroughly, meet every deadline, and combat difficult insurance reps with an expert.
Lastly, the place where attorneys help most is when it comes to dealing with the insurance companies. We can make them give us the information you need to proceed with your case and keep communication with them to a minimum in order to not give them anything to run with that may allow you to not be considered for compensation.
How long do I have to file a car insurance claim in Colorado?
The Statute of Limitations is 3 years, but you will want to file as soon as possible after the accident in question. This will help you have the most time to prepare your case, and also a lot of time to deal with insurance companies who will likely stall the process.
In A Colorado Rental Car Accident? Get A Free Consultation!
If you have been involved in a rental car accident in Colorado, you deserve compensation. These insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying you even a dime, no matter how much you are entitled to.
We won’t let them bully you, push you around, and offer your insultingly low settlements. We are here to hold them accountable when they need to be. We also work hard to communicate with you and help you understand your case, what you will likely receive, and what the entire process is like - to give you peace of mind.
At Anderson Hemmat, we bring more than 40 years of combined experience to the table. Our experienced attorneys have helped hundreds of victims get the compensation they deserved from their rental car accidents. If you have been involved in an accident like this, give us a call to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys. They will help to answer your questions, advise you on your case, and get the process of seeking compensation started.
Don’t try to fight this battle alone. Get the help you need and get the compensation you deserve.