What to Do If You Are in an Out-of-State Car Accident
All car accidents present challenges for those involved. Some collisions, however, come with more complications than others. A car accident outside of your home state can leave you with questions concerning insurance coverage, fault laws and the process it will take to recover compensation. It is important to take the right steps to protect your rights in these cases. Hiring a personal injury lawyer in Boston, for example, could help you resolve an out-of-state car accident claim.
Stop, Report and Record
Treat an out-of-state car accident the same way you would a typical car crash in your home state in the beginning. All states have hit-and-run laws prohibiting drivers from leaving the scene of a car accident. Stop your vehicle at the scene or as close to it as possible. Check yourself for injuries, then exit your vehicle and check others for injuries. Call the police if the accident appears serious or caused any injuries. You may also wish to call the police for a more minor accident if you do not know the car accident laws in that state or want an official report.
While you wait for the local police to arrive, obtain the other driver’s name and contact information. Gather other information about your car accident as well, including photographs and videos of the scene. Take note of the date, time, and location of the out-of-state car accident. Look for road signs and mile markers to know where you are. Write down the other driver’s license plate numbers. Do not admit fault for the auto accident to the other driver, the police, or an insurance company.
Go to the Nearest Hospital
Do not wait until you are back in your home state to seek medical care for your accident-related injuries. You may wish to see your primary care physician but it is more important to obtain immediate injury treatment. Call an ambulance from the scene for serious injuries. Otherwise, ask the police officer to point you to the nearest hospital or search for one on your smartphone. Go to the hospital right away for a checkup, even if you feel fine. You could have hidden injuries. Follow the doctor’s treatment plan precisely and keep copies of your medical records and bills.
Does My Insurance Cover Me Out of State?
Next, initiate the insurance process. Things might start to look different from the car accident claim process in your state at this stage. In general, the fault laws in the state where your crash occurred will preside over your case. In Massachusetts, for example, no-fault laws apply. After an accident in Massachusetts, you will call your own auto insurance provider even if you were not at fault for the wreck. In fault-based states, however, you will call the insurance provider of the at-fault party. You can research the fault laws in the state where your crash occurred on your own or call an attorney to help you resolve an out-of-state insurance claim.
You can also call your own insurance company to ask about the procedure for an out-of-state car accident claim. Your auto insurance will cover you if your policy applies. A crash being out of state alone will not bar you from insurance coverage. As long as you have the right type of coverage and your insurance company agrees it is liable – such as in a no-fault state or if you caused the crash – you should be eligible for benefits.
If you are in a fault state, you might hear from the insurance company of the at-fault party to resolve your claim instead. Hire a lawyer to help you settle for a fair amount with the other driver’s insurance carrier. If you need a lawyer, hire one locally near where your accident happened so he or she will understand the relevant state laws. A Boston personal injury attorney can protect your rights no matter where your car accident occurred.