Whether you are on holiday with your family or on a solo business trip with plans to drive around to enjoy the sites, it is best to be prepared for unexpected surprises. Out-of-state car accidents are a common occurrence, but many people are afraid when they happen because they lack legal guidance and information. Different states have different insurance rules and processes for filing an insurance claim for a motor vehicle accident.
Many jurisdictions share similar features, but some specific details differ in significant ways that could affect your claim or a subsequent lawsuit, should one be necessary. If the automobile accident did not occur in your home state, you may experience some challenges dealing with the post-accident process. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do immediately following an out-of-state crash.
For example, knowing the car seat belt laws of the state and following them can not only keep you safe in a road accident, but can also help you to avoid penalties for not wearing one. You can begin by reviewing the following steps and obtaining assistance and representation from a legal professional.
How to proceed with your out-of-state car collision case
The initial steps should be concerned with safety after an out-of-state car collision. You should remain calm and put your health and the health of any others involved in the accident first before you start dealing with car insurance and legal concerns. Here is how to begin:
- Check for serious injuries in need of emergency attention
Often, people brood about the legal complications and damages they will have to deal with. In the meantime, they may ignore or miss serious injuries that need tending to. The moments immediately following a car collision are scary. The fact that the accident occured in an unfamiliar state can make the situation even scarier.
Properly inspect yourself, passengers, and others involved in the accident for any injuries. Sometimes people involved in an accident experience a mild form of shock which can impact their ability to experience pain. They may not be immediately aware that they have been injured. Other people make the mistake of ignoring mild injuries like muscle sprains or neck or shoulder twitches that become bigger issues later when they are not treated.
Ignoring medical issues can lead to long-term health problems that contribute to increased treatment expenses. If you are mobile or your vehicle is in a movable condition, you should move to the side of the road, out of the flow of traffic, or otherwise to a safer location where you can continue taking steps to protect yourself.
- Call emergency services
There are emergency services and facilities like 911 available in nearly every part of the United States. You can also contact the nearest police station to report the accident. Remain present at the scene of the accident, gather as much information from the other parties and any witnesses as possible, and wait for the police to arrive to investigate the scene. Whatever you do, make sure you do not leave the scene or you can be penalized.
- Exchange important information
Regardless of the state’s insurance laws and rules regarding fault, it is important to exchange necessary information like names, contact, and insurance details. You should also record the details of the other vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number. Use a smartphone, if possible, to take pictures of the vehicle damage, injuries, and important aspects of the accident scene. This information may be useful for proving your claim at a later date or may be used as evidence in a lawsuit if the insurance company fails to negotiate a fair settlement.
- Keep unnecessary conversation to a minimum
Many drivers get into conflicts or put out information that is not required at the moment. When you are involved in an out-of-state accident, you may be more submissive in the situation because you lack the confidence of knowing exactly what to do. You do not need to admit fault or apologize for something you have not caused or are not responsible for. Even if you believe you share some responsibility, wait to discuss your case with a legal professional before admitting any fault.
Such actions can get you into trouble in the long run. Anything you say and any information exchanged can be used by the other party to argue against liability, or can be used to accuse you of negligence.
Similarly, it is not helpful to blame the other driver instantly. It is best to leave it to the police, the insurance companies, and the legal professionals who are skilled at scrutinizing the facts of an accident case. Keeping conversation limited to what is necessary to exchange information is the best thing you can do.
Dealing with insurance after a car accident in another state
In most scenarios, insurance claims can be settled quickly. Compensation should be paid out according to the terms of the insurance policy, regardless of whether you live in a no-fault or at-fault state, even if the collision occurred in a different state than the one you live in.
For straightforward cases, usually those involving only minor damage or injury, you may be able to work with the insurance company. Some insurance companies, however, do not deal fairly or they may simply disagree in how to interpret certain terms of the policy.
If you are having difficulty negotiating with an insurance company on a fair settlement for your damages, having an experienced legal professional by your side can be a great help.
A car accident can place you at risk of long-term emotional, physical, and financial issues. A Car Accident Lawyer can help you navigate the rules of the particular state the accident occurred in and help recover mechanic costs, medical bills, and lost wages. This approach also helps you focus on the recovery process so that you remain healthy for many years to come.