What Should You Do After a Rental Car Accident in Alaska?

Rental car accident concern.

Millions of visitors travel to Alaska each year to experience all the state has to offer. While many arrive by airplane or boat, they often use rental cars to get around. Unfortunately, these accidents are not uncommon — and when they occur, serious injuries can result. Regardless of the reason the crash happened, there are several steps you should take if you’ve been in a rental car accident in Alaska.

1. Call 911 From the Scene of the Accident

Although there are some unique issues that can arise when it comes to rental car accidents, the aftermath must be handled just as you would deal with any other collision. Importantly, you should call 911 from the scene of the accident. Alaska law requires that drivers promptly report all accidents that result in injury, fatality, or property damage in the amount of $2,000 or more. The law also specifies that motor vehicle operators who have been involved in an accident have a duty to provide information to the other driver and render reasonable assistance, including making arrangements for transportation regarding medical treatment.

Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or death to another can include one year in jail and a monetary fine. Failure to call 911 for a victim who needs medical assistance can result in a sentence of 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

2. Exchange Insurance Information with the Other Driver

In addition to calling 911, you should exchange insurance information with the other driver. Usually, rental car drivers will be covered by their regular auto insurance policies, but some drivers may choose to purchase insurance through the rental car company. In any case, most rental car accident claims are resolved through insurance, so it will be crucial to obtain the other driver's insurance information if possible. Critically, each driver’s insurance information will also be listed on the accident report taken by the police, but that may be hard to get if that part of the report is redacted before given to you. So, you need to get as much information from the other driver as possible.

3. Get the Contact Information for Any Witnesses and Take Photos

If there were any witnesses to the accident, obtain their names and phone numbers. If liability is in question, their testimony may be vital to help establish the other driver’s negligence. They can recount their version of the events, including what they saw happen before, during, and after the crash.

Additionally, take photos of the injuries, property damage, and accident scene if possible. These can be key pieces of evidence if you later decide to pursue a personal injury action.

4. Seek Medical Attention Immediately

One of the most important things you can do after any type of car accident is seek medical attention immediately — even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. If you are from out-of-town, don’t wait until you get home to obtain medical treatment. By getting the prompt medical help you need, your doctor can rule out any serious internal injuries that can worsen or lead to complications if they are not treated right away.

Seeking immediate medical attention is essential for any personal injury lawsuit you might later pursue against a negligent driver. Medical documentation is the foundation of every car accident claim. If you didn’t obtain medical treatment promptly, the insurance company may try to argue that you aren’t as injured as you claim to be and attempt to reduce your compensation.

5. Contact the Rental Car Company

The steps to take after a rental car accident are generally the same as those in a standard collision. But there’s one additional measure you must take — contacting the rental car company. There may be a phone number listed on the rental agreement. The car rental company may have you fill out its version of an incident report which contains information about the vehicles involved in the accident and how it occurred.

6. Know That the Rental Car Company May be Held Liable

Liability can be complex in a rental car accident. In some cases, there may be more factors that come into play besides another driver’s negligence. A victim may also be entitled to file a legal claim against the rental car company for renting an unsafe vehicle. In the event the rental car required repairs or was not properly maintained, liability could arise if these issues caused the collision.

For instance, a rental car company’s failure to replace worn brake pads or tires on the vehicle can make it a hazard to drive. The company also has a duty to replace burnt-out headlights or brake light bulbs, perform oil changes and routine maintenance, and repair any electrical or mechanical issues. Failure to keep rental vehicles in good working order can result in the company being held liable for negligence if the lack of maintenance causes an accident.

7. Retain an Alaska Personal Injury Attorney

It’s important to be aware that Alaska is not a “no-fault” state when it comes to car crashes. In most cases, rental car accidents will be resolved through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy — regardless of the severity of the injuries. However, in order for your claim to be successful, you must be able to prove the other driver’s liability. It’s best to retain an Alaska personal injury attorney immediately who can investigate the claim and gather the necessary evidence to hold the responsible party accountable.

Whether you live in Alaska or out-of-state, it’s imperative that you protect your rights after a rental car accident. Before making any statements to the insurance company or accepting a settlement offer, consult with legal counsel. An Alaska personal injury attorney will have extensive knowledge of the applicable state laws and nuanced legal procedures involved in your case to help ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Consult with an Experienced Alaska Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been hurt in a rental car accident due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you’ve incurred. Known as The Trial Guy, Attorney Eric Derleth is dedicated to providing skillful counsel and reliable representation to Alaska car crash victims and out-of-town visitors who have been hurt in rental car accidents. Proudly serving Anchorage, Soldotna, Kenai, Palmer, Wasilla, and other areas of Alaska, our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 907-262-9164 to schedule a free consultation at our Anchorage or Soldotna office, or contact us online.

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