It’s one of the most feared scenarios most people can imagine: You go to another state for a long-awaited vacation, only to find yourself involved in a car accident. Even if you are a tourist in the city and the accident does not occur in your home state, there are still some important things that you should do immediately after the accident.
The First Step
First, exchange information with the other driver in the accident. You should at least get the insurance information, but it would also be helpful to get the name, address, and phone number. Call the police and ask them to file an official police report regarding the accident. This is an extremely important step to ensure that the responsible parties to be blamed will pay for any damages that occurred.
The Second Step
You should also obtain the contact information of witnesses to the accident. This will also be particularly useful if the other driver disagrees with your version of the events. Take pictures and document everything you can at the scene of the accident, including the damage to your car, the location of the vehicles, the other car, and the road.
Seek Medical Care
It’s also a good idea to go to the doctor after an accident to have injuries checked, especially since some injuries don’t show up until days or weeks after an accident. If you go to the doctor later, it will be difficult to get medical care coverage as the insurance company may claim it is not related to the accident.
Talking to the Police
When talking to the police, the other driver, or the insurance company, remember to mention only the facts of what happened in the accident. Never admit guilt or talk about your feelings, as they are things that could be held against you later. Keeping a record of your facts and what information you provided to various parties can help especially if the case takes a while to resolve.
The State Jurisdiction
In the event you decide to file a personal injury claim against the other driver, things can get a bit tricky, especially if you or the other driver were visitors and are from other states. Generally, you will need to file in the state that has jurisdiction over the other driver and you will need to file it in your home state if the other driver is not from the state where the accident occurred. In some exceptional cases, you may be able to file in your home state if the other person involved a) also lives in your home state, b) has insurance coverage from your home state.
Like it or not, even minor car accidents can turn into great pain. In the best scenarios, there is minor damage to the vehicles involved, and no one is seriously injured. If you come across a fender bender, for example, you can simply exchange insurance information with the other driver, file a police report, and let the insurance company take care of the rest.
However, even the smallest accidents can quickly turn into a major legal battle, depending on the situation. If you experience a persistent injury (which often doesn’t develop until weeks or months after the initial collision), or if there is a dispute over who was at fault in the accident, you may want to consider asking for legal help. These are the cases where hiring an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Orange County can save you a tremendous amount of stress, money, and time. Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to navigate the complicated legal process and they’ve helped clients by looking out for their best interest.