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Los Angeles Law Blog

By stephen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Car Accident on Friday, November 20, 2020.
Top 5 actions you need to take if you are in a car accident out of state

Accidents can happen at any time, to anyone, on any road. Figuring your way through the insurance process after the fact can be difficult to manage, and unfortunately when the accident happens outside of your state it can bring added difficulties. Since the collision took place in a different jurisdiction, there will be different rules that need to be followed. You may already have an extensive list to prepare you for heading out on your road trip, and this might seem like an extra task, but being informed about the auto laws in each state you plan to travel through can ultimately be worth it in the long run.

 

The basics

Fortunately, the immediate actions that need to be taken following a car accident are the same wherever you are. First, you’ll want to contact the local police department to report the accident. With this, if you or any other person(s) involved in the accident have sustained injuries, call for emergency medical responders. Secondly, you’ll need to exchange contact and insurance information with all parties involved. Thirdly, collect as much evidence from the scene as you can with photos, notes, and witness statements. Lastly, whether you caused the accident or not, it’s always best to not admit fault. It may seem obvious to you, but at the end of the day it’s not your responsibility to decide who is at fault. Focus on receiving medical help, exchanging information, and collecting all relevant information necessary for the police, insurance companies, and lawyers.

 

Contact insurance

On the bright side, your auto insurance will follow you wherever you go. Insurance companies understand you can’t stay within state lines forever, and they’re prepared to help you regardless of where the accident takes place. If you only sustain property damage in the accident then the process for filing a claim with your insurance company should generally be the same as if you were within your state lines.

 

File personal injury claim

If you’re injured in an out of state car accident, you can technically file a personal injury lawsuit in the state that the crash happened or the state that the defendant resides in. Making this decision is going to take time and research – it’s important to figure out which states laws will benefit you the best. Some states are considered “no-fault” states, which ultimately means that your own insurance company will pay the medical claims – rather than the defendant’s company. If the accident occurs in a state that is considered a tort state, then that means you’ll need to pursue compensation from the defendant’s insurance.

 

Handle the damages

While you’re in contact with your insurance company, inquire if they have any partnerships with any particular auto body shops. If your vehicle is damaged badly enough, it would probably be best to seek out repairs locally before returning to your home state. If you were injured in this accident, immediately seek out medical attention from the local hospital.

 

Contact a lawyer

With all the complexities that can arise from an out-of-state car accident, hiring an experienced lawyer can go a long way. The jurisdiction over the case, and the relevant laws, will directly affect the outcome of the case – and if you hire legal counsel, they’ll be able to argue for jurisdiction in the state that’ll benefit you the most favorably.

 

Heading out on a road trip should be fun and exciting – seeing new places and experiencing new cultures – and a car accident doesn’t exactly fit into that scenario. Fortunately, a minor car accident that occurs out of state doesn’t differ too much from an accident that happens within your home states lines. With that being said, if the accident becomes more serious than the process following the accident will follow suit. By hiring an experienced car accident lawyer, you can feel confident that they’ll fight to acquire the most beneficial outcome for you.