Being out of state and encountering an accident can be incredibly stressful. You are in an unfamiliar area, trying to get medical care, and you may need a rental car just to get back home. When you are injured in an out-of-state incident, you need to be prepared for it ahead of time. While no one should plan on an accident while venturing out of state lines, knowing what to do is critical.
The First Steps You Take Are the Most Important
Whether you are visiting Kentucky, or you are a resident of Kentucky injured out of the state, there are a few steps you need to take first.
Call the Police and File an Accident Report
No matter where you are, you should always call the police and file an accident report. In some states, you may not be required to file a report. But unless you know for sure, call the local police department and notify them. You can let them know you are out of town, and they can let you know whether or not you need to file the report.
Most areas require a police report if the damage is over $500, which applies to most vehicle accidents. Regardless, do your part to report it, and never leave the scene without approval.
If you or someone in the car is seriously injured, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Seek Medical Attention – Even If You Feel Fine
You might think that you are fine and uninjured, or you may worry that going to the local hospital will cost thousands because your health insurance doesn’t cover out-of-state networks. No matter the reason, go to the emergency room anyway and seek medical care.
Now is not the time to feel tough or worry about cost.
Accidents are stressful on the body, and the body’s natural response to a stressor like this is to release endorphins. These endorphins act like the body’s natural morphine – which can hide pain from serious injuries. Once endorphin levels subside, you may start to feel the full extent of your injuries and, in some instances, experience tremendous pain. Furthermore, very serious injuries (like internal bleeding or traumatic brain injuries) can be masked by these endorphin surges.
Bottom line, you need to see a doctor immediately after your incident. A doctor will look for injuries (including those you may not realize you have) and get you the treatment you need so that those injuries do not become life threatening.
One last reason to seek medical treatment, and start an official record of injuries and treatments sustained in the accident, is because you may find yourself in the position where you need to file a claim against the other driver. If you cannot tie your injuries directly to the accident, or you wait until you get back home a few days later to seek care, you are opening the door to the defense denying that your injuries had anything to do with the accident – or even saying that you are over-exaggerating the injuries you suffered.
Gather Information and Evidence – If You Can
If you are able to, make sure you take photographs of the accident scene, get contact information for any witnesses at the scene, and exchange information with the other driver(s); including insurance, vehicle information, phone number, name, and driver’s license number.
Notify Your Vehicle Insurance for More Instructions
You should contact your automobile insurance provider as soon as possible. There are clauses in insurance policies dictating how long you have to file a report. Even if you were not at fault, your insurance needs to know so that they can take action on their end. You may need to use medical payments from your auto insurance policy while you wait for repayment from the other party’s insurer or while waiting for compensation from an injury lawsuit.
If You Have to File a Lawsuit, What State Do You File Your Suit In?
A common question is what state you file your personal injury lawsuit in. Luckily, you have two options, and you can pick the option that works best for you and the situation.
You must file a lawsuit in the state where the accident occurred or in the state where the defendant lives. You cannot file a lawsuit in your state because the law does not allow you to file a suit there. So, you may need to request travel arrangement reimbursement as part of your compensation demand, especially if you have to travel out of state multiple times to negotiate or appear in court for your lawsuit.
Remember, Where You File May Be Impacted by State Laws
The state you choose to file your lawsuit in will greatly impact which laws apply to your case. Therefore, you may want to consult with an attorney and see what laws are more favorable for your type of accident. Some states have harsher contributory negligence laws, and you would not want to file a lawsuit in one that makes it next to impossible to seek compensation.
Injured in an Out-of-State Car Accident? Contact an Injury Attorney Immediately
If you are a visitor to Kentucky and you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact a local attorney who can help fight for the compensation you and your loved ones deserve. At Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, we are here to help you get compensation for medical costs, lost wages, traveling in and out of the state for hearings, and making sure that you do not lose a fight just because you were a visitor here.
Call today to schedule a free case evaluation with our team or contact us online to learn more about our aggressive approach to car accident lawsuits. No one should have to try and navigate the laws of a state where they visit. Instead, have an advocate by your side, fighting for the compensation you need.