When driving in states other than your home state, you are required to abide by the traffic and insurance laws of that state – not just the state in which you live and buy insurance. While all 50 states require drivers to carry vehicle insurance, some of the specifics, as far as the types and levels of insurance required, vary from state to state. For example, most states require you to carry uninsured/underinsured driver’s insurance to cover any expenses caused by a driver who either doesn’t have insurance, or has the minimum amount of insurance coverage to remain compliant with the law, but isn’t enough to cover the damages incurred in the accident.
That said, not all states require this extra level of protection, although all insurance companies offer it and some even require you to purchase it in order to obtain any coverage. If your state is one that does not require uninsured/underinsured driver’s insurance, but the state you’re traveling to does, make sure you have the proper coverage before you go on your trip.
But what if you’ve already gotten into a car accident in another state? Hopefully you’ve already taken care of everything mentioned above. If not, it’s still good to check, even after the accident, especially if the other driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough to cover the costs of the damage. Regardless, you should follow many of the same steps you would follow if you were in an accident in your own state:
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver, even if everything seems fine. Better to have it and not need it than to find out later they did serious damage to you, your vehicle, or one of your passengers, and not have a way to reach them (keep in mind many car crash injuries don’t manifest right away, especially internal injuries). If they don’t have insurance, get their contact information. You should also take a photo of their driver’s license and insurance card.
- Exchange information with any witnesses to the accident. Ask for their names, addresses, and phone numbers so you can contact them in the event of a dispute. If you or one of your passengers was hurt, you’ll need to call a personal injury attorney, and they will also want to talk to any witnesses. Your insurance carrier might also want their contact information so they can question them before resolving your claim.
- Call the police. You should always call the police right away any time you’re involved in an accident, regardless of the amount of damage done. It’s always a good idea to file a police report so you have a third-party account of the incident. If someone was hurt, call for medical assistance – if they were seriously hurt, call 911 and tell them you need an ambulance. Once the immediate emergency has been handled, call a personal injury attorney right away to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
- Notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible. If one or more other drivers were involved, your insurance carrier can contact their insurance carriers to determine who was responsible and which company will cover what damages.
Finally, if you or one of your passengers was injured as a result of the car accident, contact a personal injury attorney today. We’ll defend your rights and make sure you’re properly compensated for all the damages you incurred.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.