You are standing at the front desk of a car rental company, about to get the keys to a vehicle that will take you on a journey. Maybe you’re planning to head a resort, or to visit family and friends elsewhere in the province, or simply to do some errands around town. Whatever the reason, you may be thinking more about hitting the road than worrying about the paperwork you’re asked to sign.
“Would you like to opt-in for insurance coverage?” the clerk asks. In the unlikely event you’re in an accident while in your rental vehicle, you may look back at this question as a pivotal moment. But, at the time it’s posed, you probably aren’t seriously entertaining the possibility that you could be involved in a collision. Instead, you may strain to remember whether you’re covered by your own car insurance or another policy, and then either decide to opt in (better safe than sorry) or take your chances (what are the odds of something bad happening anyway?).
Unfortunately, accidents in rental vehicles do happen and when they do many accident victims who aren’t covered by their own motor vehicle insurance policy find themselves in the middle of a very complicated insurance picture. Litco Law Edmonton car rental accident lawyers can help make sense of all of this, and help you seek benefits and compensation for your injuries if someone else caused or contributed to the accident.
Car Rental Tips
When booking a rental, choosing the right vehicle for your needs (size, carrying capacity, gas efficiency, handling) is probably the first thing on your mind. But there are some other things to remember:
The Insurance Upsell: The same way some stores do a hard sell on extended warranties for certain products, some rental companies may be quite insistent that you should buy whatever optional insurance they’re offering. The reason is simple, they stand to profit from the sale. Before booking a vehicle, check your own motor vehicle insurance or other insurance policies (or call the insurer) to determine whether you are already adequately covered in case of an accident in the rental. If you aren’t covered but are likely to rent a vehicle more than once or twice, you may want to ask for an SEF 27 endorsement in your motor vehicle policy to provide coverage.
Check Your Cards: Even if you don’t have coverage through another policy (or if that coverage may not be as much as you need), if you are paying for your rental with a credit card you may have additional protection from the card provider. Supplemental coverage for collision damage via your credit card may not include everything you would receive in the rental company’s optional insurance (for example, paying for the days when a car is out of service for repairs and cannot be rented by the company), but it may provide enough coverage for big ticket expenses to convince you not to opt in for the rental insurance.
Inspect The Vehicle: A lot of people rent these vehicles and they are out on the road often. Most companies are very good about marking any previous damage or not worrying about minor scratches and dings from regular use. However, by carefully inspecting your rental and taking photos of both the exterior and interior, you could protect yourself from being on the hook for pre-existing damage they hadn’t noticed.
Become Familiar With Your Rental: If you’re driving a make or model of car that is new to you, take time to learn where to find its important features. Exercise extra caution while driving as you become familiar with the vehicle’s sight lines, handling, and brakes. Often people take rental cars to places they have never been before or don’t know well. An unfamiliar in an unfamiliar place can increase the chances of driver error.
What Should I Do If I’m In A Car Rental Accident?
As always, your first priority should be your health. In a major accident with visible injuries or disability, medical first responders are likely to be dispatched to the scene. But if the accident appears to be minor and injuries are not immediately evident, you and/or others at the scene may not see the need to call.
Often accident victims are in shock for a period following the collision and may not feel the full extent of their injuries. Symptoms from some injuries (including head trauma, muscle strains, internal bleeding or organ damage) may not manifest until hours, days or even weeks later. Exercise caution by seeking immediate assessment from first responders even if you do not feel hurt. A follow-up appointment with a doctor or another recognized treatment provider should be made as soon as possible. The longer you wait before being evaluated, the more difficult it becomes to prove your injuries are the result of an accident.
If you are able, try to obtain contact information for all people involved in the accident and any witnesses. Exchange insurance information with any other driver. Take photos or videos of the scene, the damage to the vehicles and any personal injuries. Jot down what you remember about the accident and any other factors that might be important when establishing fault while they are still fresh in your mind. If you were too seriously hurt or too much in shock to do any of this, don’t worry. There are ways for experienced car rental accident lawyers to gather evidence after the fact. Finally, limit what you say following an accident to avoid unintentionally making a statement that could be used against you by another party in court.
Once you are able, contact the car rental company to advise them of the accident and ask them about next steps. Be sure to take notes during the call and ask for the customer service representative’s name in case any dispute rises. Next, contact your insurance provider (motor vehicle insurer, other policy insurer, or travel credit card company) to notify them of the accident. These notifications should be done in a timely manner to reduce the likelihood that your claim could be delayed or denied. Finally, file an official report with the car rental company that includes applicable insurance information.
What If I’m Unsure About My Insurance Coverage Or Legal Rights?
Accident victims who suffer personal injuries are already dealing with grief over their losses, trying to manage their lives with a newly acquired disability or the effects of trauma, and fearful of what the future may hold. Adding battles with insurance companies to a plate this full would be overwhelming for anyone. This is why consulting with an experienced Edmonton car rental accident lawyer can be so important.
You may not even be certain of what benefits you may be entitled to or what compensation for your damages may be reasonable before insurance companies begin calling to encourage you to settle quickly. On the other hand, the same companies may deny they are under any obligation to provide any funds to you by pointing to complex wording in a policy, suggesting another insurer is responsible, or rejecting the opinion of your medical provider. Trying to make an informed decision about what to do in the face of these messages while you’re still coming to terms with what happened is very difficult.
When you contact a Litco Law Edmonton car rental accident lawyer for a free, no obligation consultation, we can help explain your options. As a firm specializing in personal injury law, we have extensive experience dealing with insurers and making sense of policies that can appear needlessly complicated. Moreover, if an accident was not your fault, or if someone else contributed to the accident through negligence, we can help you determine what you may be able to claim in compensation for your losses and pain and suffering.
If you choose to work with us, first we’ll do a thorough investigation of the circumstances behind the accident. Then, we’ll review all potential avenues to claim benefits and damages from insurance. This includes assisting with Section B benefits, determining coverage from your own motor vehicle insurance, travel credit card, the optional rental insurance or any other policy you hold privately or through your employer, and advising you when settlement offers are made.
If your insurance claim is denied or a settlement offer is inadequate, we will negotiate with the insurer and/or file a suit on your behalf to try to access the funds you deserve. If another person caused or contributed to the accident that caused your injuries, we will prepare a strong case in support of your claim for compensation and encourage the insurer of the negligent at-fault person to settle fairly. We are always prepared to see our cases through to court if these offers are inadequate.
Why Choose Litco Law Edmonton Rental Accident Lawyers?
There are many lawyers who will take on a personal injury case. There are fewer who specialize in this area of law. And there are fewer still who will go the distance and ensure you know that you are more than just a number to them. Litco Law is one of those firms.
For more than 40 years we have been advocating for Albertans whose lives have been turned upside down after serious accidents. Named by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the country’s Top Ten Boutique Personal Injury Firms, our Edmonton car rental accident lawyers have the experience, knowledge and skill to handle even the most complex cases. With a reputation for building for our strong, court-ready cases, insurers know that when a Litco Law lawyer is representing a plaintiff they should seriously consider settling fairly rather than risk meeting us in front of a judge or jury.
But we know there is much more on your mind than just dollars and cents. Receiving benefits to help cover your medical expenses and compensation for damages and losses are an important part of the healing process, but having an advocate on your side who understands your emotional needs can make all the difference during this difficult period.
Past clients have told us how welcomed they felt when first coming to our office or how at ease they were when we came to meet them at their home. They knew in very short order that our lawyers are in the personal injury field for the right reasons; we get satisfaction from helping people who have been wronged or who experienced a tragic accident.
Clients like Peggy say they feel like part of our family when working with us, while Lorna explains that Litco Law lawyers made the process easier by answering any questions she had and compassionately addressing her concerns. While many of our clients have never dealt with lawyers before their injury, those who have, like Ashid, tell us that we’re different – that our community involvement, or genuine interest in our clients as people, and our commitment to your best interest set us apart.
Looking For a Car Rental Accident Lawyer in Edmonton? Contact Us.
We service the Edmonton and surrounding area, including the Parkland, Leduc, Strathcona, Sturgeon Counties. When you need a Car Accident Rental Lawyer in Edmonton, think Litco Law Personal Injury Lawyers.