If you’ve been in an accident, it can be hard to know what the next steps should be – especially if your accident has taken place in another state.
Unfamiliar surroundings can excite greater anxiety after an accident, and you may not know how you’re going to get home. There are also differing insurance methods to deal with. It’s important to know how to respond in an out of state car accident to avoid further complications arising down the road.
Here are some ways to prepare for and steps to take after an out of state car accident.
Step #1: Knowing How to Respond
This step applies for both out-of-state and in-state car accidents. Immediately after a car accident you should:
- Call 911 and make sure that everyone involved is safe
- File a report with police
- Take photographs of every aspect of the accident from several angles
- Exchange contact and insurance information with others involved
- Take statements from anyone that witnessed the accident
- Contact your insurance company
It’s also very important that you do not discuss fault in the accident or any other details at the scene.
Step #2: Know Your Insurance Policy
Fortunately, most insurance policies cover all of the United States, Canada, and US territories, although you should always check to make sure before leaving your state. Your insurance company will likely either assign a claims adjuster to your case from your home state or find one who is closer to where the accident occurred. Either way, it should be no problem filing your claim and having your questions answered.
Before leaving on an out-of-state trip, it’s best to know your insurance company’s policy when it comes to out-of-state towing, car repairs and rentals. Your insurance company should be able to provide you with support for these issues, although you may want to check for how much your policy pays when these expenses are out of state. It may not be in full.
Getting your car back home may be the toughest struggle in an out-of-state car accident. If your car must be towed, the expense can be high, and insurance may only cover a portion of the cost. Check your policy to make sure you’re prepared should you have to pay for expensive towing.
Finally, check your state’s minimum liability and that of the state you’re traveling to. Sometimes your state’s minimum liability insurance is lower than that of the state your accident occurs in. This means you may not have the minimum coverage necessary. Most insurance companies will make one-time adjustments for these instances, but it isn’t guaranteed.
Step #3: Know When to Hire an Attorney
The distance involved in out-of-state car accidents can sometimes cause greater legal problems. It’s recommended that you contact legal help if there is serious dispute over who was at fault, if your losses were high, or if your insurance company isn’t complying with your policy.
It’s also recommended that you contact an attorney from your home state to handle your case. This means that they’ll be close by once you return to your home state. It’s important, however, to make sure that your attorney is familiar with the specific personal injury laws of the state in which you had your accident.