It is rare for accidents to happen in a different state than where the driver lives—which is fortunate, because they can be even more stressful than accidents that happen just down the road or on a short commute to work. Without knowing where the best body shop is in town, the best towing company, or how insurance works, out-of-state car accidents can leave those involved confused and very stressed.
At Sevenish Law, we help Indiana residents injured in car crashes out-of-state, as well as out-of-state drivers involved in a car accident in our state. Should you find yourself involved in a car collision while not in your home state, there are a few ways in which you can improve your situation.
Seek Medical Treatment
First, prior to driving out of state, drivers should become accustomed to the car insurance laws of the state they will be driving in.
If they do not, however, like any other incident on the road, the first thing to do in an out-of-state car accident is ensure the drivers and passengers of all vehicles are safe and unharmed. An ambulance should be called if anyone is seriously hurt, and anyone with minor injuries should still seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Once medical professionals have treated severely injured individuals, the next step is to contact the police. Not every state requires filing a police report, particularly when there is not a lot of damage or significant injuries, but it is always better to err on the side of caution.
Local police may also be able to provide advice on where an out-of-state driver can take their vehicle for short-term repairs and what they should do in the meantime. This alone can relieve stress for the accident victim.
Take Pictures at the Scene
While waiting for the police, it is a good idea to take as many pictures as possible of the scene. Much of what is at the scene immediately following an accident may be taken away if the vehicles are towed, so it is important to document that evidence in advance.
When taking pictures, remember that they may be used to tell the story of what happened during the accident. Take pictures of the direction both vehicles were traveling in, the vehicles involved and any damage to them, any personal injuries, and any additional details that may be relevant such as skid marks. Pictures are not open to interpretation the way other evidence—such as eyewitness testimony—can be, and they can prove to be invaluable in a potential dispute over liability.
The out-of-state driver will also need to speak to their insurance company about the accident. Even though Indiana is a tort state, where the insurance company of the at-fault party will pay benefits to all involved parties when necessary, some insurance companies may still agree to pay out benefits to the insured and deal with the at-fault party’s insurance company later. In other cases, it may be necessary to contact the driver’s insurance company to get a claim started as quickly as possible.
Contacting an Indianapolis Attorney
Remember, accident victims should speak with a car accident attorney before they talk with an insurance adjuster. The job of an insurance adjuster is to try to settle an accident claim for as little as possible, and they will often use victim’s statements against them.
In the event a vehicle is badly damaged, it is generally best not to get it repaired until the insurance adjuster can look at it and document the damage. If a rental car is required during the time the car is in the shop, it is vital that drivers keep all receipts to document their expenses.
Being involved in an out-of-state car accident can be stressful, but by staying calm and taking certain steps, drivers can improve their situation greatly. Drivers should bear in mind that the process will not be that much different than if they were in a car accident in their own state, even if there are a few inconveniences along the way.
If you are involved in an out-of-state car accident, whether that be in Indiana or elsewhere, Sevenish Law may be able to help you. Call to learn more about our experienced and compassionate car crash legal team in Indiana today.