Road trips are a favorite summer break activity for Missourians! Of course, a top choice for St. Louisans is Destin, Florida. Unfortunately, the 12-hour drive brings Missouri caravans through Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida…that is unless you take the longer route through Arkansas and Mississippi. Either way, you’re going through a handful of states!
While we always hope the road trip goes off without a hitch, accidents happen. So what do you do if you’re in an out-of-state car crash?
What to Do in Out-Of-State Accidents
The shock of a car wreck is traumatic enough, but add in an unfamiliar state with unfamiliar laws, and the situation may cause a feeling of panic. Remember, your first steps are the same regardless of whether the accident occurs in Creve Coeur, Missouri, or on the other side of the country.
At the scene of the crash:
- Check for injuries. The first thing you should do is ask yourself whether you’re injured. With the adrenaline pumping, you may not notice an injury right away. Once you’ve made sure you’re okay, check on your passengers and anyone in other vehicles
- Call the police. You should file a police report even if there are no injuries. In some states, police only respond to serious accidents with injuries, but you’ll still need to file that report.
- Exchange information. Exchange contact information with the other drivers and any witnesses at the scene. Witnesses don’t have to share information, so don’t pressure them.
- Take Photographs. If you’re able, try to take multiple photographs of the accident scene. Use your phone or camera to take pictures of your vehicle and any other cars that were involved. You may need them later.
- Get medical help. If you are hurt, make sure to get seek medical attention as soon as possible. Follow the doctor’s orders, and keep them on file. You will likely need them when you talk to the insurance company.
- Call your insurance company. After you’ve called the police and assessed the damage, you’ll need to call your insurance company. Ask if your policy covers out-of-state towing and auto repair. Your insurance company will likely have a list of recommended auto repair shops to fix the damage.
- Call an attorney in your own state first. You will ultimately want to hire an attorney from the state in which the accident occurred. Still, we recommend you call a car accident attorney in your home state first. They can serve as your connection to home as you begin the process of searching for an out-of-state attorney.
Which State Laws Apply?
Most likely, the laws of the state where the accident occurred will be the laws to follow. However, this isn’t guaranteed. There are certain conditions that can change which state’s laws will apply. You’re probably going to end up matching your out-of-state car insurance to a different set of laws. That’s why we recommend talking to an attorney.
The best attorney to hire is one who is licensed to practice in the state where the accident occurred. However, we encourage you to call us first, even if the accident occurred outside of St. Louis. We have attorneys who practice throughout ALL of Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas. If the crash occurred outside of these states, we may be able to direct you to a law office that we trust. We never charge for a phone call, so you have nothing to lose by phoning home first.
If you’re planning on taking a road trip this summer, add 314-444-4444 to your phone. We can be your connection to home. Call us anytime.