More road trips happening this summer means more out-of-state car accidents happening this summer. Learn what to do if you or a loved one is injured in a car accident that does not occur in your state! Call The Florida Law Group now for a free case evaluation if you live in Florida but have been seriously injured in a car accident that did not occur in Florida.
COVID-19 has changed or canceled nearly everyone’s 2020 summer travel plans. People are saying “no” to flying, but many still want to say “yes” to vacations; after long lockdowns, many have cabin fever and just want to be anywhere but their homes, despite the risks.
Those who are determined to travel this summer are driving to other states instead of flying, and this road-tripping trend is projected to continue even post-pandemic.
The immediate benefits of taking a car over taking a plane are obvious – you do not have to wear a mask inside your own car, unlike you would have to on a plane, and you do not have to be in close proximity with strangers who may have unknowingly been exposed or who are asymptomatic. In the long term, though, people may still feel unsafe flying, and many have said that the coronavirus has changed the way that they will view travel and large social gatherings even after the immediate threat goes away.
An increase in the amount of people traveling by car this summer, particularly after they have not been regularly driving as often and are out of practice, means that more car accidents are likely to occur. If you are one of the ones traveling out-of-state on a road trip, either this summer or in the future, it is important to know what to do in case of an accident that happens far from home (especially if you or a loved one is injured)!
First, your immediate response should be the same as with any accident that occurs anywhere. Call emergency services immediately, even if you do not feel hurt or there is no visible vehicle damage; some injuries do not present symptoms right away. The police can create an accident report which could be crucial to your case and protect you from a potential lawsuit if the other driver claims an injury later. Collect the insurance information and contact information of the other driver. Take photographs of the scene and any damage on your phone. Make sure that during this time, you do not say that you are sorry for the accident or admit fault of any kind. Even if you believe the accident was entirely your fault, you do not have all of the facts right after the crash happened – the other driver could have been distracted or experienced a problem with their vehicle that you are unaware of. You could also be in shock after an accident. If you admit fault, but contrary evidence comes to light during an investigation, the insurance companies involved could hold that against you and use it to devalue your settlement.
It is also extremely important that you see a doctor for a complete medical examination as soon as possible. You can go to the nearest hospital, even if you are out-of-state, and you should also see your regular doctor as soon as you return home. Again, even if you do not feel hurt, adrenaline could be preventing you from feeling the full extent of your injuries. Some injuries can appear days or weeks after the accident, and the longer you wait to get a medical examination, the higher the chance that your or the other driver’s insurance company will withhold full benefits because they will claim that something else that occurred in that time period could have caused your injury.
Your next step should be to contact a lawyer, because out-of-state accidents can prove to be incredibly complex. You need an knowledgeable personal injury attorney who has ample experience litigating out-of-state car accident cases and who can help you understand your best course of legal action to recover maximum compensation.
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that regardless of who was at fault for the accident, you file a claim with your own insurance company in order to recover damages. Every driver is required to carry PIP (personal injury protection insurance) in case of an accident. However, not all states operate under a no-fault law. As of January 2019, no-fault insurance/PIP is required in 16 states: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Utah. It is optional in 6 others: the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The remaining states are tort states, meaning that the insurance company of the driver or individual at fault will pay for all of the costs associated with an accident claim (or use comparative fault to determine what insurance company pays what amount).
The fault rules of the state where you were involved in a collision will affect how your case proceeds. If you were injured in a crash in a neighboring state, there is a good chance that a lawyer in your community will be able to try your case and assist you with your claim. Local lawyers are often licensed to practice in neighboring states.
If the accident happened in a far away state, things get more complex. You may want to hire a lawyer in that state, because they know the local courts and so your claim will likely be settled faster. They won’t have to travel to go to hearings or to gather information, so your fee may be smaller than hiring a lawyer in your state. However, the pro hac vice arrangement allows attorneys who are not admitted to a certain state’s bar to try cases in that state so long as they are associated with a local lawyer, and you may experience better communication with a lawyer whose office is located near you.
If your vehicle was damaged to a point where it is unable or unsafe to be driven, you can contact your insurance company and get it serviced through their network in the location where the accident occurred. However, it is still in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer so that you can get advice on how much compensation you deserve to be awarded.
The Florida Law Group is ranked in the top 1% of law firms in Florida and has extensive experience litigating out-of-state car accidents. We would be happy to speak with you about your case and fight for justice for you, no matter how challenging or complex your accident case turns out to be! We are friendly with many other legal firms in the country, and we have been nationally recognized for our ability to get verdicts for our clients. All of our legal services are offered on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you pay us nothing until we reach a settlement! We will guide you through every step of the claims process and never settle for less than what you deserve. Call now to schedule a free case evaluation!