Being involved in a car accident is scary, and that’s especially true if you’re driving out of state. Not only are you dealing with possible personal injury and the mental trauma from the accident itself, but being in an unfamiliar setting can definitely add to the stress. Of course, no one thinks it could happen to them, but it’s important to be prepared with the information you need before you set out on the open road. Being prepared for the worst-possible scenario will help ensure you don’t make any costly mistakes that could affect your recovery and the compensation you deserve, especially if the other driver was at fault.
What to Do Immediately Following an Accident When Driving Out of State
Of course, an accident while driving out of state would be an awful scenario to be in, especially if you’re out of town on a fun vacation. However, it’s important to follow the same steps you would if you were involved in an accident while driving in town. A car accident is a major event that could have lasting ramifications on your life, and you could be facing a long period of recovery, insurance filings, and even possibly a legal battle. Even though you’re on vacation, the first steps you take following your accident are crucial.
- First, assess injuries, checking for serious injuries. If anyone, including yourself, is seriously injured, try not to move and wait for emergency personnel. If you’re able to move, move to the side of the road or a sidewalk. If you find that anyone in the car accident has been injured (even the other party), make sure the individual seeks immediate medical attention. Quick access to medical attention could minimize the impact of the injuries, plus medical professionals can provide proper documentation for both parties’ insurance companies and legal counsel.
- Call the police. Whether an accident is considered a minor fender or a major collision, calling the police is essential for documentation. The officers will fill out an accident report, documenting the scene, and they will interview witnesses. In some states, it may even be legally required to call the police following an accident. Check out this resource for the different car accident laws in each state.
- Interview the witnesses and write down their names and phone numbers. If you can, record the conversation with the other driver. This will prevent a change of story later, which happens often.
- Take pictures of the scene! If you don’t have a camera or phone handy, ask any witnesses if they can help. If the vehicles aren’t causing a hazard to other drivers, try to get photos before the vehicles are moved, and also take pictures of the surrounding areas, including intersections and where witnesses were located at the time of the accident. The more photographs you have of the scene as evidence, the easier it will be to move forward with insurance claims and possible legal action.
- Lastly, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Do not give any formal statements until you have assessed your coverage. If you’re involved in an accident that’s resulted in serious injuries or extensive property damage, you’re probably wondering if you should hire a personal injury lawyer. It’s probably worth at least having a conversation with an experienced attorney before inadvertently saying something to the insurance companies that could cause them to deny your claim.
Am I Covered By My Insurance When Driving Out of State?
Rest assured, you are still most likely covered by your current auto insurance policy, no matter how far away from home you are. Most car insurance policies cover their drivers in all 50 states as well as other U.S. territories, like Puerto Rico, and some even cover you while driving in certain Canadian provinces. So, since most insurance policies extend across state lines, reporting an accident out-of-town should be just as simple as it would be if you were in a car accident in your home state. Depending on the insurance company and their policies, they may assign you an adjuster from your hometown or from where the accident took place.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After An Out of State Accident
If the accident you’ve been involved in has resulted in serious personal injury to yourself or a loved one because of the fault of the other driver, you will need compensation from the other driver for medical bills, damages to your vehicle, lost wages, and any other expenses incurred from the accident. But, where do you file your lawsuit? In your home state or the state where the accident occurred?
Out of state cases are rarely cut and dry, and every case is different. However, in nearly every case, you will follow the laws of the state where the car accident occurred, and it’s important to note that state may have different laws and conditions that could affect your claim. Their statute of limitations will apply to your case, and so you may have a shorter time period to file than you would if you filed in your home state, so it’s crucial to talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so you don’t miss an important deadline.
Get Mike in Your Corner
If you’re from the Phoenix area, and you’ve sustained injuries because of a negligent driver while driving in town or out of state, contact Mike today to get your questions answered. Having an experienced personal injury attorney fight for you can make all the difference!