Summer Road Trips–What if you are in a car crash in another state?
Posted on April 14th, 2015 by Zane Cagle
Missouri interstates see travelers crossing the country, but what if you are in a motor vehicle accident? While we hope that you have no road trip problems, it is usually better to think of the “what if’s” that can occur on a road trip. You prepare your vehicle for the road trip as well as overnight stops, snacks and sights/restaurants you want to visit, so shouldn’t you have a contingency plan if you are in a motor vehicle crash.
So, What Do I Do if I’m Involved in an Out-of-State Car Accident?
Being involved in a car accident is horrible in any state. But if you are in an unfamiliar state with unfamiliar laws; it can be overwhelming. Your first reactions are the same no matter what state you are in whether you are in St. Louis, Missouri or Miami, Florida. Download The Cagle Law Firm ‘Injury App” for iPhone and Droid. Our mobile phone app will have the steps listed below as well as local numbers for hospitals, towing companies, etc no matter which state your accident occurs.
At the scene of the crash, you will follow some steps:
Check everyone involved for injuries.
The first thing you need to do is evaluate yourself for injuries. As a parent, I understand that your first question will be to ask if your children are okay. In the aftermath of the shock of a car crash, your adrenaline is flowing and you may not notice an injury immediately. Once you’ve been able to tell that you have not had a life-threatening injury, check the other passengers and occupants of the other car(s).
Call law enforcement.
You should file a police report even if there are no injuries. If you call 911, they can usually dispatch the appropriate law enforcement. If you are in a very rural area, you may have to dial 411 to get the local police. In some states, police only respond to serious accidents with injuries, however, you will still want to file a police report either way. After you have filed the report, you will want to follow up to actually get a copy. Most police departments do not automatically send it to you in the mail. You will need to get the phone number and follow up at the time they estimate it will be completed.
Exchange Important Information.
- Exchange information with the other drivers and any witnesses at the scene. Witnesses are not required to share their account of the accident to you, so do not pressure them to do so. Be sure to get the name, phone number, address and email of other drivers, vehicle occupants and witnesses. Obviously, if you are unable to get this information because of the severity of your crash, then officers will take down some of this pertinent information. If it is not a serious crash, you should not just “hope” the officers working the crash will take down all witness names.
Take Pictures of the Vehicles Involved.
Ideally, if you are able, take multiple photographs of the vehicles at the accident scene. Use your phone or camera to take pictures of your vehicle and any other vehicles involved as you may need them later. Most everyone has camera on their smart phone and those snapshots will be important later. As well, most of us take a camera on vacation and this is a good time to use it.
Seek Medical Treatment.
If you are hurt, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. While it seems like common sense, many people put off seeking medical assistance if they are on a vacation. Waiting a week or two can be harmful in a couple of ways: first and foremost, seeking medical treatment is looking out for your personal well-being. Your personal well-being is your number one priority. Secondly, it is important that you get checked out by a medical professional right away as for certain, an insurance company will wonder why you did not seek treatment right away if you were hurt. You will need that documentation of medical treatment when going to file a claim.
Inform Your Insurance Company.
After you’ve notified the police and assessed damage, call your insurance company. You may also need to find out if your policy covers out-of-state towing and auto repair. If you have roadside assistance, that is another resource that will probably have local auto repair locations and towing services.
Call an Attorney in Your State First.
You will probably want to contact an attorney in your own state first. Especially if you already know an attorney in your home state. They can provide immediate accident advice and will probably have a professional network of trusted attorneys which they can refer you.
How Do I Know Which State Laws Apply?
Usually, the laws of the state where the accident occurred will be the laws to follow, but that is not an absolute given. There are conditions and facts that can change the situation and determine which state laws apply. Most likely, you are going to be working with your in-state insurance company and out-of-state laws which is why it is critical to contact an expert car accident attorney right away.
The Cagle Law Firm Practices in Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky
If you are involved in an auto accident in any state, we still encourage you to call us first. If the accident happens in one of our three geographical areas, we can help you. If your accident occurs during your historical drive through the South or while you are traveling in the mountains of Colorado or Wyoming, we have trusted attorneys we can personally recommend.
If you are planning a road trip any time download our app and please add our attorneys phone number to your emergency contact numbers 314-276-1681. If you need a toll free number, call us 1-800-685-3302. We never charge you to call us and consultations are always free.
Call 1-800-685-3302 or 314-276-1681 to reach an attorney seven days a week.