If you are one of the many Americans who cannot afford to purchase a new vehicle it is very possible you are one of the millions to lease your car. There are steps you should know if you are leasing and are involved in a car accident and being knowledgeable on what to do in an event such as this can only help you make an unfortunate situation hopefully more positive.
First Actions to Take
Nothing is more important than your own health and the safety of those involved in the accident which is why making sure everyone is okay is always the first step. Once everyone’s safety has been confirmed call the local police department to have them arrive at the scene so they can accurately record the events as they happened. This detailed police report will be vital later on when trying to determine who exactly was at fault and to what extent.
Either before or after this takes place it is also good practice to get all of the information of the other driver and anyone else who may have been involved in the accident such as witnesses that may have seen the incident. Taking pictures of the accident as well as any damage that occurred to the cars and/or the surrounding property will also be helpful to you down the road. And do not forget, the more pictures you have and the more angles you take them from the better your possible case will be.
Reporting Your Accident
Once things have settled and you are able to do so it is important to notify your insurance agency of the accident as soon as possible. They will then have a claims adjuster schedule an appointment to come see the damages to the vehicle firsthand, and afterwards they will instruct you on what is the best way to go forward with getting your car fixed. Since you are only leasing the car and not purchasing it you may be held to the requirements the dealership has on repairing your vehicle. For example, the dealership might not let you get cheaper no name replacement parts to fix the damaged areas as they may only let you get the parts from the original manufacturer. These are the types of details that you will have to go over with your leasing company as failure to follow their procedures can lead to money you will owe at the end of your term.
Filing a Claim
Whether you a purchasing a vehicle or leasing one the process pursuing a claim following an accident when you believe the other party is at fault is the same, you must contact their insurance company and give them the details of the incident. After providing your details to the agency as well as the details of the accident and the other driver’s information it will be up to the insurance company to either dispute or accept the claim that you made. If they accept your claim they will be able to authorize and pay for your vehicle to be repaired once you receive an estimate for the damages that they agree to.
If they do not accept your claim however there are still different options that you have at your disposal. You can either decide to file a claim against the other driver which may be both timely and costly but could possibly get you all the compensation you are entitled to, or you can use your own “collusion” insurance that almost all insurance companies require leased vehicle owners to carry. Being that you are not purchasing your car the leasing company that owns it wants to look after their investment, hence the requirement that anyone leasing a car from them carries collusion insurance.
Having an accomplished attorney on your side after a car accident is an advantage everyone should use. Contact the Paris Law Firm at 909-325-6185 or via our online contact form to schedule an initial case evaluation.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.