Leasing a new car can be very beneficial for those who are not in the financial position to buy a vehicle. Leasing has become very popular in recent years as more people look for ways to save money, yet still have a nice vehicle to drive. Of course, this means that there has been in increase in drivers who are in accidents with leased vehicles. If you are in a collision with your leased vehicle, you may be nervous about what happens next. The process of filing an insurance claim can be intimidating in itself, but when the vehicle is not exactly your own there are a few extra steps to take.
Do not worry, at Harris and Graves, your Columbia car accident lawyer, we are here to help you get through the experience. Whether you were hit by a car or involved in a single car crash, we want to help you get through your claim and, when necessary, get you the compensation that you are entitled to. Here is a simple overview of what you should do if you are in an accident with a leased vehicle.
1. Take Care of Your Injuries
When you are in an accident with a leased vehicle, the first thing that comes to mind might be the fact that you have just wrecked a vehicle that you are essentially renting—but safety is first priority. Take note of any injuries that you have and, if you are able, check on any other drivers and passengers of other vehicles that were involved. Not only is it important to get help for your injuries, but this is also vital information that you will need to report for your claim.
2. Contact Law Enforcement and EMS Officials
If they have not already arrived on the scene, you should call the police and emergency medical personnel. These first responders are trained to accurately record and investigate the scene, as well as provide immediate medical attention to all who were involved in the accident. Proper documentation of the scene and witness interviews is critical in the case that there is a dispute in court.
3. Reporting the Accident
If you are able, you should exchange auto insurance, driver’s license numbers and tag number information with the other driver. You will need this information as you begin to file your claim. It is also a great idea to take picture of the accident scene that include the position of vehicles and damage. The majority of lease agreements require drivers to maintain insurance on the vehicle. They also normally have a requirement that the driver must contact the leasing agency if they have been involved in an accident. You should contact your insurance company first, then your leasing agency.
Your insurance company will send a claim adjuster to inspect the damage of the vehicle and make an estimate of the cost to repair. This might also be done by a local, approved body shop. Your leasing agency may have specific requirements for where you can have the repairs completed. Be sure that you follow these repairs and communicate with your insurance company to insure coverage on both ends.
If the fault of the accident is the other driver’s, you may be entitled to compensation—even if you were in a leased vehicle. Compensation often covers the cost of repairs, medical bills and any other financial burdens, such as lost wages. For more information on how you can have adequate representation when pursuing compensation for an auto accident claim, contact the professionals at Harris and Graves, your local Columbia car accident lawyer. Contact us for more information on our areas of practice.