What to Do if You Are Involved in an Out-of-State Auto Accident

Posted by Chris Medine on Sep 21, 2018 10:57:00 AM

out-of-state car accidentAuto accidents present a number of challenges and a large amount of stress no matter where they occur.  However, when you find yourself involved in a collision in an unfamiliar area, far away from home, these issues can easily be exacerbated.  What are the laws and procedures in this state?  Where will your car be towed?  Can you even find a rental nearby?  These questions and more swirl inside your head as you try to navigate a totally unfamiliar situation.  Fortunately, handing out-of-state car accidents doesn’t have to be so complicated.  In fact, the steps you take after these wrecks are much the same that you would at home.  Here is what you need to know to be prepared.

Initial Steps After an Out-of-State Wreck

Whether you are near home or across the country, the immediate steps you should take after an accident are the same.  If possible, move your car to a safe area.  Then, check yourself and all parties involved in the collision for injuries. After this, you should call the local police and emergency response if necessary. While waiting on the police, you should take photos of the damage for record and try to find any witnesses who can help in writing a police report.  Also, while waiting for the police to arrive, communicate with the other vehicle driver to make sure they are not injured as well.  Exchange driver’s license and insurance cards with the other driver, and take photos of their documents for your records.

Calling the Insurance Company When You Are Traveling Out of State

Once safety precautions have been taken and the police called, call your insurance provider. Most policies provide coverage in all U.S. states and some even in other U.S. territories as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. Regardless of where the accident takes place, your insurance company uses a network of tow trucks, adjusters, mechanics, and rental services, and while you are certainly not obligated to use any of these, such contacts may prove helpful in an unfamiliar state.

From here, you will be able to have the car towed and have an adjuster from your insurance provider assess the damage. If you need to get back on the road, you can have your insurance company help you to obtain a rental while these details are worked out and continue on with your vacation.

If the car is declared a total loss, you will begin a process of negotiation with your insurance provider to determine the vehicle’s value and your settlement amount.  Remember that you do not have to accept the first offer! However, if the car is not declared as a total loss, there are some potential options you may have. You can have the car repaired in the state the accident took place in and make arrangements to have the car shipped to you or to return to pick it up once repairs are made. The other option would be transporting the wrecked vehicle by means of a towing company, renting a towing vehicle, or driving the wrecked vehicle (assuming it is safe and street legal) back to your home state for repair.

How is an Out-of-State Car Accident Handled in Court?

Let’s say that the insurance company does not provide you with a reimbursement that covers the cost of the accident in full, whether it be costs of injuries, additional damage, towing, rental, or car replacement. Do you take legal action in your home state or the state where the accident occurred?

Though it may be inconvenient, any litigation or court proceedings will be handled in the state which the accident occurred. Each state has different laws when it comes to assigning fault and handling lawsuits involving car accidents. Each state also has different statutes of limitation, meaning the time you have to take action following the accident. If you believe that you may need to file a lawsuit in order to receive full compensation, you should contact an accident attorney who is knowledgeable of the state laws and licensed to practice there.

Near or far, Medines Collision is here to service the people of South Louisiana when it comes to collision repair. Explore our website for more information on what to do if you are involved in an accident, as well as safe driving tips or more. If you have been involved in an accident, contact us today for a free estimate.

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Topics: Driving Safety Tips, Auto Accident