I Was Involved in a Car Accident Out of State… Now What?
Getting into a car accident in your own state, where you are familiar with the crash laws and insurance system, can be difficult enough. If you are traveling through another state and get into a vehicle collision, you might not know how to bring an insurance claim or recover compensation. The good news is your vehicle insurance follows you to other states. The bad news is you could end up in a legal battle in the state where your accident occurred.
Follow the Same Steps as a Crash in Your State
In the beginning, take the same steps as you would after a car accident in your home state. Stop your vehicle at the scene, check yourself and others for injuries, obtain the other driver’s information, take photographs, and go to the hospital. Call the police if your car accident caused injuries or expensive property damage. The threshold for mandatory police reporting is $500 to $1,500 in property damages, in most states. If you are unsure whether your crash is serious enough, call the police anyway. A police report could serve as evidence for your claim later.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Call your automobile insurance provider as soon as possible after a crash in another state. Your insurance will cover your damages regardless of the state where the crash occurred. The state’s fault laws, however, could determine whether you will seek compensation from your insurer or the other driver’s insurer. For the most part, the laws in the state where the accident occurred will apply to the case. If you crash in a no-fault state, call your own provider regardless of fault. In a fault state, the insurance company of the driver that caused your wreck will be responsible.
Your insurance might not cover you, however, if you crossed the border into another country. Traveling into Mexico, for example, would generally mean your insurance company refusing to pay for your damages after a crash. You must pay for special coverage if you plan on crossing the border. If you move to another state permanently, your insurance company might also deny your claim. You must purchase insurance in that state shortly after moving.
When speaking to car insurance companies, report your collision and answer any questions asked. Do not admit fault for the car accident and do not give away more information than asked. Stick to the facts and do not agree to give a recorded statement. The claims adjuster may try to convince you to give a statement or claim fault. Do not do either if you wish to protect your rights. If you are not comfortable speaking with an adjuster on your own, contact a car accident lawyer to do so for you.
Consult With an Attorney
A car accident attorney could help you negotiate your case and obtain fair compensation, whether your wreck occurred in your home state or another state. A lawyer can help you determine fault, gather evidence, and take the other steps necessary to obtain compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repairs and lost wages. After a crash in another state, you should hire a lawyer with a license in that state. A lawyer from your state might not have the ability to take your claim unless he or she also has a license in the state where your accident occurred. Many attorneys have licenses in adjacent states.
If you already have a lawyer at home, call to find out if he or she can take your out-of-state car accident claim. If not, hire a lawyer in the state where the accident occurred. In the event that you need to take the defendant to trial (or if the other driver tries to bring a claim against you), the court process will occur either in the state where the accident occurred or the state where the defendant lives. Find an Orange County car accident attorney that provides services in that state for legal assistance with your case.