Being involved in a car accident is stressful. However, when that car accident occurs when you are out of state, a new level of stress is added. In most cases, you will return home long before your personal injury claim settles or even begins.
Knowing when to hire an attorney is only one factor. It is also essential to know when to hire an attorney near you and when to hire an attorney close to where the accident occurred. Here’s what you should keep in mind after an out-of-state car accident.
Reporting the Car Accident and Seeking Medical Treatment
Call 911 to report the car accident and wait for the police to arrive. Remain calm. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene and ask witnesses for their names and contact information. It is crucial to take this information since you do not live where the accident occured.
Seek medical treatment for injuries to protect your health and to document your injuries for an injury claim. Keep copies of evidence of all expenses and losses related to the accident, including medical expenses, rental car fees, car repairs, and loss of income. Request a copy of the police report for your records.
When you return home to California, follow up with your doctor. Continue treatment until your doctor releases you. As soon as you return home, report the car accident to your insurance provider.
Beginning the Car Accident Claims Process
For the most part, the car accident claims process is the same regardless of whether your accident occurred in California or in another state. If another driver caused the accident, contact the other driver’s insurance provider to file a claim.
If the car crash did not result in serious injuries, you might not need an attorney to handle your injury claim. You may wish to settle a straightforward claim, provided the insurance company does not deny liability and agrees to pay a fair amount.
However, you do not want to settle the car accident claim until after you complete medical treatment. You need to be sure that your doctor releases you before you settle the claim. You also want to make sure you have included all amounts for medical expenses, lost income, and other financial losses in the claim amount.
You are not required to return to the state where the accident happened to sign a settlement and release statement. The insurance company should be able to forward those documents to you. Once you sign the release of liability agreement, the insurance company issues a settlement check, and your claim ends.
Should You Hire A Car Accident Lawyer In Your Home State or in the State of the Accident?
There are cases in which you may need to hire an out-of-state car accident attorney. If the claim is complicated, you may wish to have an attorney in the jurisdiction of the accident who can handle the claim for you.
For example, if you were in a car accident in Houston, Texas, you might benefit from hiring a local car accident lawyer. If you hire an attorney in California who is not admitted to practice in Texas, that attorney must work with a Texas attorney and gain special permission from the court to represent you in Texas courts.
Some situations increase the need to hire an attorney in the state in which the accident occurred, even though you live out-of-state.
Here Are Some Situations In Which You Should Hire An Attorney In the Jurisdiction of the Accident:
- You sustained traumatic or catastrophic injuries.
- Your injuries resulted in permanent impairments or disabilities.
- The insurance company denies liability.
- You are being blamed for contributing to the cause of the accident.
- You incurred significant financial losses, including medical costs and loss of income.
- The insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement for your claim.
- The automobile accident involves a commercial vehicle, government vehicle, or multiple vehicles.
- The insurance company is dragging the matter out longer than necessary.
- A defective automobile part may have contributed to the cause of the crash or the severity of your injuries.
- The car accident resulted in a wrongful death.
It can be challenging to know when to hire an attorney in another state. It may also be difficult to know where to begin to find an attorney in another state.
If you have questions, you may want to contact a car accident attorney in Los Angeles. The attorney can review your case and help you determine the best steps to take to protect your legal rights. The attorney may also be able to recommend attorneys in another state that you can contact to begin your search for a car accident attorney.