Atlanta Car Rental Accidents – Filing a Claim to Get Fair Compensation
Did you know you’re more likely to get into an accident in a rental car than your own car?
Think about it.
Driving around a new place in a car you’re not used to can be quite uncomfortable. You’re juggling with GPS, figuring out the car’s different controls, and clueless about the traffic conditions.
It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re in unfamiliar territory. And if you end up crashing your rented car, things can get really chaotic.
Now you’re hurting with none of your loved ones around to look after you and multiple insurance companies adding to your stress.
You need an experienced local rental car accident lawyer get you the medical and financial assistance you need.
So if you’ve been in a rental car accident in Atlanta, our knowledgeable team here at Murphy will do whatever it takes to fast-track your recovery.
Important Steps After a Rental Car Accident
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, jittery, and confused after a car accident. Unfortunately, it’s also why victims can make more mistakes and compromise their safety.
A little preparation can go a long way.
Here’s six steps you must follow after a rental car accident to clear all obstacles to your compensation:
1. Assess Your Injures and Manage the Accident Scene
Your first duty is to ensure you and everyone involved in the car crash are safe. Stay clear of incoming traffic and request pedestrians to help direct cars away from the accident site.
It’s easy to ignore injuries when your adrenaline levels are peaking during an accident. Check your body thoroughly for any injuries. Assess the injuries of other drivers involved in the accident too.
If anyone is hurt, contact emergency services as soon as possible. Do not attempt to move anyone who is injured, especially if the injury is severe.
2. Call 911
In many jurisdictions, It’s legally required to report a car crash to the police when it leads to injuries and property damage.
Give them a quick review of the injuries and scene of accident. They’ll dispatch a unit to write an accident report and direct emergency medical authorities who will be equipped to handle the situation.
This police accident report holds a lot of weight in legitimizing your personal injury claim.
3. Take Pictures and Videos of the Accident Scene
If you’re lucky to escape without severe injuries, then you’re ready to take the first step to build a strong claim – gathering evidence. It’s harder to collect relevant evidence the longer you wait after your car accident.
Here’s the evidence you should prioritize gathering after your rental car accident:
- Photos of damaged vehicles with license plate numbers
- Photos of injuries
- Contact and insurance information of the drivers involved
- Eyewitness contact details
- Road and traffic conditions
- Time, date, and location of the car accident
4. Inform the Car Rental Company
Call the rental car company. You can find them by going through your rental agreement paperwork if you haven’t saved their number.
It’ll help the car rental company quickly get in touch with their insurance company. Plus, they’ll also guide you what steps to take after the accident. Ensure you note down the name and number of the person you contact.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
Inform your insurance company immediately to ensure your claim can be processed smoothly as soon as possible. You’re only obliged to provide them basic information about the accident. Don’t get into any discussion related to liability with their representatives.
6. Hire an Experienced Car Rental Accident Lawyer
You’ll realize that emergency legal advice is almost as valuable as emergency medical attention after a car accident. You’ll be confronted with all kinds of questions from the police, insurance agents, and the defendant’s lawyers. There are lots of parties hunting for any careless statement from you to help them dodge liability.
You need an experienced Atlanta rental car accident lawyer to take them on. They will handle the burden of gathering evidence, filing paperwork, negotiating and settling your case. Just share the name and number of your lawyer with anyone who contacts you about the case.
Determining Fault and Compensation
Things can get complicated when there are more parties involved in a car accident. There’s going to be a lot of finger-pointing between your insurance company, your rental car agency’s insurer, and the other driver’s insurance company.
Your compensation size depends on the severity of your losses and your degree of liability. It’s easier to document and prove general damages like medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. However, it’s hard to prove special damages like anxiety, PTSD, and depression.
Let’s take a look at how liability is evaluated in these two scenarios:
- If Your Actions Led to the Accident – Georgia is at-fault state, which means the party responsible for the accident is liable to pay damages. Naturally, your insurance will have to cover the losses of the rental car company and other drivers involved in the accident.You can also use any supplementary liability coverage that you purchased from your rental car company. You’ll have to pay them out of your own pocket if you’re not insured.
- If Another Driver Caused the Accident – You can file a claim against the driver at fault. They will have to compensate you through their liability insurance coverage. You’ll have to gather enough evidence to clearly establish the other driver’s negligence leading to your accident.Your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit if they’re unwilling to offer you fair compensation.
Importance of Contacting a Lawyer
Here’s what an experienced rental car accident lawyer will take care of to make your life a lot easier:
- Start investigating and documenting evidence to build a strong foundation for your claim.
- Coordinate with all authorities, accident reconstruction experts, and witnesses to support your claim.
- Help you file an insurance claim with all relevant details.
- Negotiate with insurance agents and lawyers involved to ensure they don’t trick you with lowball offers or push liability onto your shoulders.
- File all legal paperwork following the deadlines to fast-track your claim.
- Take your case to trial if necessary.
Requirements for Renting a Car With Hertz or Avis
Most car rental companies like Hertz or Avis have made their qualifications quite straightforward. You must be over 25 years of age or pay an additional surcharge to rent their cars. You must be at least 21 in most states.
You must have an active driver’s license issued by US, Canada, or any other country that meets their requirements. It should be valid throughout the rental period.
Most importantly, your driving record needs to meet the following criteria:
- No Reckless Driving within the last 36 months
- No DUI, DWAI, or DWI in the last 48 months
- No Auto Theft
- Less than 3 moving violations
- Not more than 3 Accidents in the last 36 months
Additional Coverage Offered by Hertz or Avis
You don’t need insurance to rent a car from Hertz or Avis because they’ve already insured their cars. It won’t change the fact that you’ll be liable for any damages if you get into an accident.
However, if you have auto insurance already, it will extend to your rental car. You can check with your insurance company before renting your car to ensure you have the necessary protection.
It’s recommended to purchase a basic rental liability coverage plan offered by Avis or Hertz if you’re uninsured.
Causes of Rental Car Accidents
Here are the most common causes of rental car accidents:
- Reckless driving
- Driving errors due to lack of familiarity with the place and car controls
- Poor car maintenance
- Bad road conditions
- Poor weather
Responsibility for Damages
The Graves Amendment is a federal law that ensured car rental companies are not liable for a driver using their vehicles. Avis of Hertz has the right to file a claim against the insurance of the driver at fault to cover their damages.
However, you can hold them liable for your injuries and losses if it’s discovered that they provided you a malfunctioning car.
Their duty is to provide you a safe and fully functional car. If they fail to do that, then you can sue them for negligence.
Filing a Claim Against Avis or Hertz
Most Avis or Hertz cars will keep an accident report form in your rental car’s glove box. Provide all the important details covering the names of people involved, contact info, injuries and damages sustained.
You can get in touch with renting location or obtain this form on their website if you can’t find it. Don’t share any details discussing liability.
Once you’ve filed the report and they get in touch with you, you can simply ask them to speak to your lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don't have insurance as a rental car driver?
You don’t need to have insurance to rent a car. However, you will be liable to pay for damages from your own pocket if you share responsibility for the accident.
Can I still recover damages if I was partially at fault?
Georgia follows a comparative negligence standard when it comes to awarding compensation for personal injury claims.
You can’t seek compensation if you share 50% or more of the responsibility for the car accident. Your compensation amount will be in proportion of your liability.
For instance, if the court awards $50,000 as compensation and rules that you shared 20% fault, you’ll only be given 80% of the amount. So you’ll walk away with $40,000.
What if the other driver doesn't have insurance?
You can seek compensation from your own insurance company in case you have uninsured motorist coverage.
You can consult your lawyer to file a lawsuit against the liable party in case they have other assets that could cover your damages. However, it’s possible you may have to walk away without anything if they don’t have much.
How much will it cost to hire a rental car accident lawyer?
It costs absolutely nothing to hire a rental car accident lawyer. That’s why the earlier you reach out to us, the stronger and faster your settlement will be.
We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pay us a fixed percentage of your settlement when you win. You won’t have to pay us a dime until then!