Things do not always go as planned. The last thing you want to have to happen on vacation is a car accident. Being in a state other than where you reside when this happens can make it even more stressful. However, if you are aware of what you should do when an out-of-state accident occurs, you can be prepared for the worst. Whether you are an Indiana resident in an auto accident in another state or a resident of another state in an accident in Indiana, these tips can help you protect your right to fair compensation for damages.
What to Do After an Accident in Another State
The first thing to remember is that, in the immediate aftermath of the crash, it does not really matter where you are. The first steps you take should be the same no matter where you are. After a crash in another state, be sure to do the following:
- Call the police. No matter where you are, you will need a police report to back up your claim for compensation. Even in a minor fender bender, call the police and get an official record of the crash.
- Get medical help. Adrenaline is an amazing thing. It can make you feel fine even when you are injured. If you are seriously hurt, you should obviously go to the ER, but no matter how minor you think your injuries are, go to a nearby urgent care center and get checked out. This medical record could help you down the road.
- Take pictures. Before anything is moved, get a record of the scene on your cell phone. Quick snapshots will be very beneficial to you when you are trying to file a claim from afar.
- Collect contact information. Especially since you are not local to the scene, having contact information for everyone involved and witnesses to the crash will be very important if there is a dispute later on.
- Notify your insurance company. You are required to notify your insurance company of an accident, even if you do not think you will need to file a claim with them. Call them as soon as possible and they will tell you if there is anything you need to do.
- Do not admit fault. Be very careful about what you say to the other driver, police, and insurance agents. Even a casual apology can be construed as an admission of fault. Do not say anything at the scene about the cause of the crash. All of this can be worked out later.
Taking these steps will be immensely beneficial should you have to file a claim or a lawsuit once you get back home.
Out-of-State Insurance Claims
The most important thing to know about out-of-state claims is that you will be subject to the laws and limitations of the state where the accident takes place—not the state where your car or the at-fault driver’s car is insured. While car insurance requirements differ from state to state, insurance companies will honor the requirements of the state where the accident takes place. If, for example, you are hit in Indiana by an out-of-state driver who is carrying lower policy limits than Indiana requires, his insurance company will cover the Indiana minimums. If it becomes necessary to file an injury claim against the at-fault driver, the claim will be subject to the statute of limitations and personal injury laws of the state where the accident took place.