What to Do If You Are In an Out-of-State Car Accident

Important legal tips on how to keep a cool head after getting into a collision in another state

Were you injured in a car accident while visiting another state? It doesn't happen often, but when it does, unfamiliarity with your surroundings can give you a sense of shock and panic that may cause you to make a costly mistake. That's why it is important to be prepared for these kinds of scenarios before you set out on the open road.

Whether you are involved in an accident just minutes from home or across the country, there are several critical steps you need to take in the moments and days following the accident, such as:

  • Call the police;
  • Seek medical attention;
  • Take pictures of the scene;
  • Get names of witnesses;
  • Notify your insurance company; and
  • Never admit fault.

However, while it's important to know what to do after a car accident wherever you are, you may have unanswered questions about how insurance coverage works in another state, or where you should file an injury claim for serious car accident injuries and damages. 

Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more so that you can keep a cool head if you are involved in an out-of-state car accident.

Reporting an Insurance Claim

As far as insurance goes, typically auto policies extend coverage to all areas within the United States or any territories in possession of the U.S., in addition to the provinces and territories of Canada. This means that if you opened up a policy in Colorado and get into an accident during a vacation to Florida (or Quebec for that matter), you should still receive coverage as defined by your policy.

Since auto insurance extends past state lines, reporting out-of-town accidents to your insurer should be just as easy as it would at home. After calling your insurance company, they may assign you an adjustor from your hometown or the area where the accident occurred, depending on the company's policies.

If you decide to make repairs to your damaged vehicle at a shop close to where the accident took place, in most cases your insurance company should still be able to help you through a network of towing companies, mechanics, and adjustors throughout the country, even if you are hundreds of miles from home.

The bottom line: As long as you have sufficient auto insurance and your claim falls within the guidelines of your policy (not the insurance laws of the state where the accident occurred), you shouldn't have any trouble receiving compensation—regardless of where you are. If you are unreasonably denied coverage, you may need to speak to an insurance bad faith attorney to find out why.

Filing an Injury Lawsuit

Say you've been in an out-of-state accident that resulted in serious injuries to yourself or a loved one and now you want to take legal action against the at-fault driver. You need compensation from the other driver for medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and extra travel expenses incurred, but where do you file your lawsuit—in your home state or the state where the accident occurred?

In almost all cases, you will follow the laws of the state where the car accident happened. For instance, if you are from Colorado—where a modified comparative fault system is practiced—but you get into wreck in Florida, then you will be under that state's jurisdiction instead.

Out-of-state accident cases are rarely cut and dry. Each case is different, and the particular state where the accident took place may have its own limitations and conditions that could affect your claim for the better or worse.

It is important to remember that your case will be subject to the statute of limitations set by the state where the accident occurred, which may be less than your own state's deadline. That is why it's crucial to talk to a car accident attorney as quickly as possible after a serious auto collision. 

If you are from Colorado and have questions about out-of-state accidents, or you or loved one were injured by a negligent driver while visiting, don't hesitate to pick up the phone and call the Babcock Law Firm's Denver office to talk to a knowledgeable car accident attorney today. Or email us your case details to set up a free consultation.

Continue reading these related articles for more information…

**NOTE – this article and all content at Injurylawcolorado.com is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice 

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