How To Handle An Out-Of-State Car Accident
According to The National Safety Council, there were 5.4 million medically consulted injuries in 2021 due to motor-vehicle accidents. While experiencing a car accident is difficult enough, getting into an out-of-state car accident only compounds the stress. Drivers and passengers may be confused about how to proceed; they may be unaware of their legal rights, their insurance coverage, and how to reach out for legal support. If you or a loved one recently were in an out-of-state car accident, it may be helpful to reach out to the experienced Riverside, California car accident attorneys at Heiting & Irwin. Contact them for a free initial consultation at (951) 682-6400.
How Do You Handle a Car Accident in Another State?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists several critical steps drivers and passengers should take to protect themselves and their loved ones while driving, including always buckling up, ensuring children are safely seated, following speed limits, and never driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. These steps greatly reduce the likelihood of a car accident. However, even for the best of drivers, accidents still sometimes happen. If you are in an out-of-state car accident, key steps to handle the situation include:
- Call emergency responders and police. Even if the accident seems minor, it is important to contact officials who can document the scene and identify liable parties, providing evidence to support a case.
- Seek medical treatment. Again, even if the accident seems minor, it is important to seek medical treatment because some injuries do not immediately present themselves.
- Collect evidence. This includes taking photographs or videos, witness testimony, and available CCTV footage. The more evidence you have, the easier to prove your claim. This is especially important in out-of-state accidents.
- Collect the names, contact information, and statements of witnesses.
- The liable party is likely to try and blame you for the accident. Do not give them a reason to be able to do so; and do not admit fault simply to avoid confrontation or out of sympathy.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver, including their name, license plate, and insurance information. Since at least one driver is out-of-state, it is especially important to collect as much information as possible.
You may also contact a lawyer quickly. While your insurance company will need to be notified of the accident, an attorney may be able to investigate and notify the insurance company on your behalf, as well as pursuing other matters related to the accident and its aftermath. Knowledgeable car accident lawyers such as those at Heiting & Irwin can help make it much easier to handle out-of-state car accidents, whether you or the other(s) are the out-of-state driver(s).
Which States are No-Fault States?
In no-fault states, the other drivers’ car insurance does not cover injury costs after an accident, even when the other driver is liable. Instead, drivers must have personal injury protection to cover their own injuries. The following are no-fault states:
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
(While the liable driver is not responsible for injury in these states, they are still responsible for covering property damage.)
Which States Are PIP States?
PIP, or personal injury protection, is a form of car insurance that covers expenses related to injuries such as medical bills, lost wages, and funeral costs. All the no-fault states, except for Kentucky, require drivers to have PIP. Delaware is not a no-fault state, but still requires PIP insurance. Ten other states allow drivers to add PIP to their policies but do not require it. These are known as “add-on” states. Add-on states include:
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
When it comes to out-of-state car accidents, the policies of the state in which the accident occurs apply. If a driver from Georgia, a “fault” state, is hit by a driver in Florida, a “no-fault” state, the Georgia resident’s insurance would have to provide the driver with the minimum PIP coverage that is required in Florida. If you are concerned about travel to another state, contact your insurance company in advance and ask about your coverage.
How Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
Understanding the intricacies of out-of-state car accidents can be overwhelming. Car accidents can feel like too much to handle––after an accident, drivers and passengers may have to cope with car repairs, medical treatments, lost wages, and other complications. Understanding your rights and obligations can be even more confusing in the case of out-of-state car accidents. At Heiting & Irwin, our car accident attorneys have years of experience handling automotive accidents and understand how overwhelming it all can be. If you have been in an accident, consider reaching out to the knowledgeable attorneys in Riverside, California, to learn how they can help. Call our office today at (951) 682-6400, or visit our website at www.hilegalgroup.com.