What To Do After You’ve Been Injured in an Out-of-State Car Accident

December 13, 2019

You’ve been injured in a car accident while driving in another state. Now what?

Accidents happen all the time. If you are spending a lot of time driving around the country, it’s a good idea to know exactly what to do should you be involved in a crash, especially if it is in another state.

While making an accident insurance claim will often involve the same procedure no matter what state you’re in, that is not true 100 percent of the time.

Should the claim be more complex, you might need to hire a car accident lawyer to deal with the case.

This is where having a car collision in another state can be an issue. There are certain complications associated with a crash outside of your home state such as your lawyer’s practice license.

Since different states will have different laws, a car accident lawyer in your state may not be allowed to represent you in another.

Luckily, local lawyers often have a license to practice in neighboring states so if you do have an accident in there, the issue might be easier to resolve.

Here is a guide on what to do if you do have an accident in a different state:

What should I do immediately after a car accident?

As with any car accident, you need to obtain the contact details of the other driver and their insurance company.

Call emergency services and don’t admit anything. Take photographs of the damage caused to both vehicles and submit a claim with your insurance company within 24 hours of the accident if possible.

Make sure you get a police report and see a doctor for medical care. If the accident occurred in a different state and you need emergency care, go to the nearest hospital. You will also need to visit your regular doctor when you return home.

Settling With an Insurance Company After a Car Accident in Another State

In most situations, insurance claims are easily settled.

Payment will simply be awarded to the party that was not at fault, even if the accident in a different state.

In this case, there is no need to hire a lawyer, and you can let your insurance company handle all of the legal and administrative work.

You can even sign the release form at home as the insurance company will mail everything to you, including your settlement check.

Related: When will I receive my car accident settlement? 

When You Can’t Agree On A Settlement After Your Out-of-State Car Accident

When a significant claim is involved, or there are disputes between the drivers, the services of a car accident lawyer may be required to help settle the case.

This can be more difficult than you initially thought as you need to find a lawyer who can represent you both your home state and the state where the accident occurred.

How you decide will be based on where the accident occurred and your preference of lawyers.

Here’s what you should do if the accident was in a neighboring state and if it was in a faraway state:

The Car Accident Was In A Neighboring State

As previously mentioned, if the accident occurred in a state that is close to or borders your home state, there is a good chance that you can find a lawyer who has a license to practice in both places.

This is a straightforward situation with an easy solution since you will only have to deal with one local lawyer.

The Car Accident Was In Another State Far Away

When you need a lawyer to represent you for a car accident that occurred in a state far from your home, it might be more efficient to hire a lawyer who practices in that said state.

Since they are already located there, it will be easier for them to work on the case because they won’t have to travel far to go to hearings and gather police/medical reports.

This can save you a lot of money in terms of flights back and forth, seeing as you’re the one who has to reimburse your lawyer.

Furthermore, your lawyer will be more experienced and knowledgeable of the local state laws there, which means that your claim may be settled faster.

However, If you prefer to use the services of a local lawyer for any reason, there is an alternative.

The pro hac vice arrangement allows lawyers who are not admitted into a specific state’s bar to handle cases there if they are associated with a lawyer from that state.

For example, if you live in New York, but you had an accident in Florida, you can hire a lawyer from New York, and they will partner with another lawyer from Florida to handle your case.

Determining Your Rights After Your Out-of-State Car Crash

Regardless of where your accident took place, speaking with a local personal injury attorney is always a great start.

They will be able to either help you with the case or point you in the right direction.

Most attorneys have friends or at least know attorneys in other states, so speaking with someone close to you certainly cannot do any harm.