Planning a road trip with a rental car? You should always be prepared for the worst case of being involved in a car accident, which is never easy. But when you’re in a rental car, things can get a little more complicated. If you’ve been injured in an accident while driving a rental car, here are the steps you’ll need to take.

Document details of the accident

Regardless of whose car you’re driving, it’s critical to document all the details concerning any accident you’re involved in as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the easier it becomes to forget important information. Your memory will likely work against you if you try to remember what happened later.

Every detail matters, including what the other driver was wearing, how many passengers were in the vehicle, and anything else you can recall. Sometimes people who cause accidents lie about basic parts of their story, like where they were going and who was in the car with them, so it’s possible that this information might help your case.

Contact an attorney immediately if you’ve been injured

After sustaining an injury, contact a car accident attorney because you might have grounds for a lawsuit. This especially applies to Florida drivers, even though they are not always eligible to sue the at-fault driver. In Florida, drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection insurance, and in most cases, the at-fault driver’s PIP coverage will take care of the vehicle damage, 80% of medical bills up to $10,000, and 60% of lost wages.

The only reason courts allow an injured party to sue the at-fault driver in Florida is if the injuries are severe and meet the state’s standards for a “serious injury.” This is why you need to consult with an attorney to find out if your injuries qualify for filing a lawsuit.

In the state of Florida, you may only sue for car accident injuries if your injuries meet the following:

  • Permanent, significant scarring
  • A permanent injury
  • Permanent loss of a bodily function

If any of these apply to you, consult with a lawyer to see if you qualify to sue. If you’re not in Florida, you’re probably able to sue no matter what. Most states don’t have injury threshold laws.

Watch this video for some more tips:


You can recover more damages with an attorney

Whether you’re dealing with an insurance company in or out of court, you stand a better chance at recovering more damages with an attorney. If you choose to sue the at-fault party, you can also recover non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.

Contact the car rental company

This is where things get a little different. When you have an accident in a rental car, you’ll need to fill out more paperwork and take some extra steps. Call your rental company and let them know what happened. If you can’t get through to the main office, call the emergency number listed in your agreement.

The rental company will tell you what to do next, which usually involves filling out their incident report form. This form will ask for the same information you’ve already collected, so it should be easy to complete.

Contact your insurance company

If you’re using your own existing insurance to cover your rental car, make sure you notify your insurance provider about the accident to start the claim process. When you speak with a rep, ask them the following:

  • If they’ll file the accident report with the police, or if they want you to handle it
  • Verify if you have collision and comprehensive coverage
  • Verify the amount of your deductible

Also, let your insurance company know if you purchased additional coverage through your rental car company.

Check your credit card coverage

It’s possible that your credit card might cover some of the claim if you booked your car rental with a card that provides rental car coverage. It may not be much, but it’s worth checking.

Be prepared for extra fees

Unfortunately, some rental car companies will charge you the daily fee while the rental car is in the shop getting repaired. Be prepared for this and other potential fees.

What if it was a private rental?

If you were using a private car share rental service where individuals rent out their cars to other individuals, all the same advice applies. It will ultimately be up to the insurance company to determine what gets covered or not.

Don’t stress

Getting injured in a car accident can be stressful, but don’t let it consume you. Focus on healing your injuries and giving your lawyer what they need to represent you in court if you’re pursuing a lawsuit. Take care of yourself first and it will be easier all around.