Every year, tourists flock to Orange County to visit its many tourist attractions, from the world-famous Disneyland to beautiful California beaches. Unfortunately, accidents can happen even when one party is on vacation. If you were injured in an out-of-state car accident, it is important to know you have rights.
What Is Considered an Out-of-State Accident?
In legal terms, an out-of-state car accident is any accident in which at least one party is from another state. That means that a local driver struck by an out-of-state driver would have an out-of-state accident claim on their hands.
Steps to Take After an Out-of-State Accident
Call 911, if Needed
The very first step is to take stock of your and the other party’s injuries. If emergency medical help is needed, call 911 immediately. Move any vehicles to a safe spot, but only if it is safe to do so.
Notify Local Law Enforcement
Next, call the local police and notify them of the traffic accident. Since the accident happened in their jurisdiction, you may need to file an accident report with them.
Please note: Accidents that result in significant property damage, injury, or death must be reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as soon as possible.
Exchange Info: Does Car Insurance Cover Accidents in Other States?
In short, yes. Car insurance covers the car, even if it is taken across state lines. It is crucial, however, to note that insurance laws can drastically change from one state to the next. Before traveling to California, the driver must make sure that their insurance policy meets the Golden State’s standard for minimum coverage.
Many out-of-state drivers opt to rent a car or borrow a loved one’s. Those renting would be covered under the rental car company’s insurance; those borrowing would rely on their loved one’s insurance policy.
It is, therefore, very important to exchange insurance information with the other driver after an out-of-state accident. Make sure to get their contact information, as well.
If the other driver turns out to be uninsured, you still need to get their contact info. Most policies have uninsured motorist coverage to deal with situations such as these.
Get Medical Help, Immediately
Don’t wait to seek medical help, especially if you are the one from out of state.
The longer you wait to see a doctor, the easier it will be for insurance to dispute your claim. Insurance adjusters often use any gap of time between the accident and the first doctor’s visit to add on deductions, or even deny a claim. Thus, if an out-of-towner waits until they get home to see a doctor, the adjuster may misrepresent this gap of time.
Not to mention, the longer you wait, the worse your injury may get. It is best, not just for a legal case, but for your health to see a doctor as early as possible.
File an Insurance Claim
Don’t wait to report the out-of-state accident to your insurance company, and if you were injured, to file a claim. You cannot recover compensation if you don’t file a claim.
Unfortunately, insurance companies typically attempt to pay less than what they owe. They may use various tactics to reduce your claim, such as asking you to recount what happened right before the accident. From here, they may ask pointed questions to obtain statements that work to their benefit.
It is a sad truth that most insurance companies care more about their bottom line than helping their injured policyholders. If you find yourself running into trouble with insurance, you may benefit from speaking with a local attorney.
Book a Free Consultation with a Local Attorney
Consulting a local attorney soon after an out-of-state accident can shorten your road to compensation. Local attorneys are skilled professionals trained in county and state laws. They can help you navigate the insurance claims process, as well as ensure you don’t accept a lowball settlement.
At the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg, our Orange County accident attorneys have helped countless injured clients after out-of-state accidents. Overall, we have recovered over half a billion dollars for the victims of negligent parties. If insurance continues to deny you the compensation you deserve, we are prepared to take them to court. There are no fees unless we win!
To schedule a completely free, no-obligation consultation, call (949) 565-4281 today. We can also be reached online here.