No one can predict an auto accident. Collisions can happen when you least expect them – such as while on an out-of-state road trip or vacation. The insurance claims process can look different than it does in your home state after an out-of-state collision depending on the laws. Knowing what to do and how to handle these types of crash claims may take assistance from a local Dallas personal injury lawyer.
The rules you are familiar with in your home state may not apply in a car accident in another state. If you live in Texas, for example, you might be familiar with the state’s fault-based car insurance laws. These laws state that the person who caused the car accident will be liable for victims’ damages. If you were driving in a no-fault state such as Florida or New York, however, fault for the collision may not matter. In no-fault states, all drivers seek compensation from their insurers regardless of fault, with exceptions for serious injuries. You may need a car accident lawyer in the state where your crash occurred for legal advice about how to proceed with a claim.
First, take the steps you normally would after an accident in your home state. All states have similar hit-and-run laws that require drivers involved in collisions to stop and provide contact information. Pull your vehicle over and ask if anyone has injuries or requires medical assistance. Call 911 if the crash appears to have caused expensive property damages ($500 to $1,000 or more), injuries or deaths. Give your full name and contact information to the other driver. Provide proof of insurance if asked but do not admit fault for the car accident. Take photographs of your vehicle and the crash scene for use during an insurance claim.
Complicated out-of-state car accidents often require assistance from attorneys. Hire a car accident lawyer if your crash involves expensive property damages, debilitating injuries, liability disputes, or a crime such as a hit-and-run or drunk driving. You may also wish to consult with a lawyer for an overview of the state’s car accident laws, including fault and comparative negligence statutes that may differ from your home state. A lawyer in the state where your crash occurred could assist with the insurance claims and/or personal injury lawsuit process.
Yes, your car insurance covers you while driving in another state. In general, auto insurance policies do not have restrictions when drivers are out of state. If you permanently move to another state, however, your auto insurance company may have the right to deny your claim if you fail to update your address on your policy. Most states require you to update your insurance and acquire a state driver’s license within the first few weeks of residency. You will not need to change your insurance if you are simply visiting or driving through another state.
After a car accident in another state, call your insurance company to report the wreck. Your insurance provider will explain the claims process and investigate the crash. If your insurance company believes the other party is at fault and liable for your damages, it may file a claim on your behalf. You might receive a phone call from the other driver’s insurance company within a few days after the collision in this case. Be careful when talking to the insurance claims adjuster, as he or she will want to minimize your recovery. Do not admit fault and do not accept a settlement offer without first consulting with a lawyer.
If you were at fault for the car accident or the crash occurred in a no-fault state, your own insurance carrier may cover your damages up to your policy’s maximum. It should not matter if your collision occurred out of state. Your insurance provider will still be liable for your damages according to the language of your insurance policy. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills and/or property damages through a first-party insurance claim. Discuss your insurance options and rights after an out-of-state car accident in more detail with a personal injury lawyer.