Motor Vehicle Accidents

What to do if you’re injured in a rental car accident

By LHD Lawyers

You may be quite familiar with the steps to take if you’re in a car accident with your own car. But if you or someone you’re with get hurt in a collision with someone else’s rental vehicle or while travelling in a rental vehicle, both the steps and the liabilities are a little different.

Even if it is the road less travelled, it pays to know the way forward when it comes to a car hire accident claim. Read on to find out what you can do after a rental car accident to smooth out what is often an uncertain and turbulent experience.

What steps should you take after a rental car accident?

The first priority in any accident, not just in terms of the collision but for as long as necessary afterwards, should always be the safety and wellbeing of those involved. Thankfully, all legally registered vehicles in Australia (including rental vehicles) are covered by compulsory third party (CTP) insurance. That means anyone injured by an at-fault driver can make a claim for CTP compensation regardless of the driver’s financial situation.

If you’ve been collided with a rental car through no fault of your own, take care to follow these steps:

  • Call 000 immediately if anyone is hurt or needs medical assistance.
  • Exchange identification information with the other driver. Make sure you obtain the name and contact details of the person the vehicle is rented to (if that isn’t the driver) plus the name and insurance details of their car rental company.
  • Take photos of the scene and write notes about what happened and your injuries so you can refer to it later if needed. Note the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • Make a police report (in most states within 24 hours) if:
    • Someone sustained injuries or was killed
    • The driver left the scene without providing their details
    • A vehicle was towed after the accident
    • Property was damaged, but the owner is not present
  • Contact your insurer. They will advise you on all aspects to do with the vehicle damage.
  • Get legal advice as soon as you can. If you’ve been injured, you may be entitled to compensation to cover your medical fees. If you’re unable to work, compensation may be available to cover any loss of income. Time limits apply, so do not delay.

What about if it was you who caused the rental car accident?

Most rental cars will have basic insurance to cover damage to the other car, and they will all have CTP insurance to cover the injuries of all people involved (including some benefits for the driver) in most circumstances.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in states such as NSW, you may be able to immediately claim for your medical treatment and loss of earnings after lodging a formal claim. These benefits are available, in most cases, regardless of who was at fault.

To do this, you need to:

  • Provide the registration number of the vehicle that caused the accident
  • Report the accident to the police if they did not attend the accident
  • Get the event number of the accident from the police

Is the hire car company liable for my injury?

Typically, the insurance policies held by the person who caused the accident will be held liable to compensate others for both injuries and damage to their vehicle/s.

That means, unless it can be proven that the hire car company’s negligence caused your accident, they will probably not be considered legally liable for your injuries.

However, liability could be established if, for example, there was a safety problem with the vehicle you were driving that they left unaddressed before hiring it to you, such as not replacing unsafe tyres.

Some rental car companies offer the option of purchasing additional insurance, but it’s not compulsory to do so to rent a vehicle. It is therefore very important you understand the terms and liabilities of your contract and the terms of any insurance policy so you can make educated decisions before you agree to rent a vehicle.

Make a rental car accident claim today

LHD Lawyers are well versed in navigating the complexities of insurance policies, and we help everyday Australians receive the benefits they are entitled to for rental car accident claims every day. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.


Author: Phillip Scroupe

Original Publish Date: January 20, 2022

Last Updated: April 4, 2024

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