You know the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” which applies to many things in life, including getting injured in a car accident while in another state. Before venturing out on a road trip, take a few minutes to educate yourself on the appropriate steps to take should you get into an accident and sustain injuries. That way, you will know what to expect and the right decisions to make for optimal protection.
One of the most important things to know is that not every state follows the same laws pertaining to injury car accidents. As a prime example, while most states are “at-fault,” meaning the insurance provider of the driver who caused the crash has responsibility for damages including injury as well as lost wages. However, some states follow a different law, including those listed below.
- No-Fault – In no-fault states, each party’s insurance company pays some if not all of the medical expenses and lost wages associated with an injury car accident, regardless of which driver was responsible.
- Contributory Negligence – In this case, if you are responsible for any portion of the accident, even 1 percent, and no matter how severe your injuries, you cannot collect damages from the other driver.
- Pure Comparative Fault – For states that follow this law, even if you played a role in causing the accident, you can still collect damages from the driver deemed at fault. However, what you recover gets adjusted based on the percentage of responsibility of the at-fault In other words, if you were 20 percent responsible, you could only collect 80 percent from the other driver.
- Modified Comparative Fault – For this, you can collect damages from the driver who caused the car accident but only if you were less than 50 percent responsible. If your role in the crash is anything more than that, you cannot collect anything.
As for insurance, you have protection regardless of the state you’re visiting if you’re injured in an accident. Because there are so many variables, you would need to speak with your provider to determine not only how much and the type of coverage that you have but also the process for filing a claim, whether you must do so with your provider or the other driver’s insurance company.
For all states, regardless of the factors involved, you need to take specific steps when in a car accident, especially if you suffered injuries. These include calling the local police, going to a doctor or hospital immediately following the incident, and getting in touch with your insurance provider. Most importantly, do not make any comments that could get used against you at some point and never sign any documents.
It is also in your best interest to contact a reputable attorney who specializes in personal injury law as soon as you can. While you hope the driver who caused the accident will do the right thing, that does not always happen. Unfortunately, you could find yourself in a situation where the other party fights your claim, which is why you need a trusted attorney in your corner.