Car accidents can often be an unfortunate consequence of travel. While they are oftentimes unavoidable, it is still smart to know the steps you can take to avoid a wreck and what you should do after one. It’s especially important to be caught up on how to handle interstate accidents. As the holiday season approaches, many drivers will be traveling out of their hometown and may not be in familiar territories. As expected, accidents become more common when the driver is unfamiliar with the roadways. So, what happens if you get into a car accident in another state? This blog outlines the steps you should take.
Accidents are traumatic, there’s no way around it. The first thing you want to do after you get in an accident, regardless of whether it happens in your home state or in another state, is assess the injuries of everyone involved. Injuries from an auto accident can range from minor to catastrophic, and potentially fatal. Ensuring everyone gets the proper attention they need is important.
Regardless of your location, EMS should be able to come assist on scene if needed. If the injuries are severe, you should call emergency medical services right away. Oftentimes, when you call 911, they’ll ask if they should send an ambulance to you. If they do, remembering the name of the ambulance service will be beneficial to write down, as well as taking a photo of their information, or notating their contact numbers. This will become important later, as it’s more difficult to track down all your treating providers when you get services for a car accident that occurs in another state.
Emergency medical services have contracts with hospitals, and if you’re transported, you’ll end up at one of the local hospitals. As stated above, make sure you take note of where you are and the name of the hospital.
However, it’s also possible to drive yourself to a doctor, whether it be an urgent care, local chiropractor, or the hospital. It does not hurt a personal injury case you have if you seek medical treatment out of the state you live in. In fact, the most important factor is your health and your recovery. If you’re injured – get treatment! Just be sure to note the providers you went to, as well as the dates you were treated.
If you were in an accident while traveling to your destination, it is completely possible that you either had a quick hospital visit, or you chose to forgo any medical treatment. It is not uncommon to simply want to get to your destination.
If your destination is not home, you can still get treatment. It is likely that your injuries will start to settle in and become more apparent in the days following the car accident. Say, for instance, you’re visiting family over the holidays. If you feel that a trip to urgent care or a chiropractor would provide much needed relief, you should not hesitate to book an appointment if you need it!
In Texas, you’re entitled to reimbursement for all medical expenses incurred after a wreck caused by someone else. If you get treatment out of state, you’re still entitled to getting those expenses reimbursed! The insurance adjuster loves to argue that any gap in treatment is evidence that you weren’t actually that injured. With that being said, it may actually hurt your case to wait and try dealing with the pain until you get home. Get the medical care you need, when you need it!
In the time following the accident, after assessing whether everyone is okay, make sure you exchange information with the other driver. While this is always important, that becomes especially true with car accidents that occur in another state. Each state has their own laws with traffic accidents and liability. While something might be clear cut to you, that might not be the case to the insurance carriers. It’s in your best interest to document everything you can, including the other driver’s insurance information, their license information, the license plate on their vehicle, whether they had passengers, what type of car they were driving, and if they had a strange demeanor, suggesting they were under the influence.
If the police do get involved, document which precinct and what your case number will be. Each state and precinct is different in how you can obtain a copy of the police report. While you’ll be able to hunt down that information, it’ll be easier for you if you document it up front.
The rules regarding Texas car accidents are pretty simple. If another person caused at least 50% of the accident, they’re responsible for paying whatever percentage of your damages that they caused. Other states may not all follow the same rule of thumb. If you get into an accident out of state, the law will be determined accordingly.
Oftentimes, you’ll want an attorney in the state that your accident occurred, even if you plan on receiving treatment in your home state or somewhere else. However, if you only know an attorney in your home state, you can still give them a call. Many attorneys are licensed in multiple states or have relationships with attorneys they can refer you to.
If you have valid car insurance, and the other driver has valid car insurance, it will not matter if you were in another state when you were injured in an accident. However, it might become tricky with who covers what, and where you will need to file a lawsuit. You see, if you have an accident somewhere other than your home state, you would need to file a personal injury lawsuit in that state, unless other circumstances exist.
In any scenario, there are many ins and outs of getting into a car accident in another state. It might be in your best interest to call a personal injury attorney to help navigate your options. The important things to know are: 1) it’s perfectly alright to receive treatment (in any state) for your injuries, 2) as long as you exchanged information with the other driver, there are options, and 3) a personal injury attorney can help resolve the claim regardless of what happened.
Many personal injury attorneys, like the Austin, Texas attorneys at McKinney Vos PLLC, offer free consultations to provide you with the time to ask questions and learn of different avenues for solutions prior to committing. Keep in mind, you must file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations of the state where the accident took place, so it is likely in your best interest to call an attorney sooner rather than later.