Whether away from home or not some things should be automatic wherever you are. You should safely pull your car out of traffic or away from danger, if possible. If not possible, remain in your vehicle until you are sure that it is safe to get out. If you have a cell phone, call 911 and ask for officer/emergency assistance.
Reporting your accident to the police is a MUST, wherever you are. There have been a great many cases where an innocent victim has failed to recover for property damages and medical bills, merely because they failed to call the police to the scene. Generally, people involved in a traumatic event are shaken and scared, and through these emotions often comes an inherent honesty. That is why getting a police officer to the scene is mandatory. After people leave the scene, they tell spouses, family, friends, co-workers, etc… about the accident, and begin to evolve a concocted tale about how the accident occurred and that they were not at fault. By the time the insurers get involved, this tale has been perfected, and the insurance companies adopt their own insured’s version. Now, you have a fight on your hands. It is your word against theirs, and, as the person bringing the claim, YOU have the burden of proof. The difficulties are only compounded when you live somewhere different than the place where the accident occurred.
When in an accident and injured out of state, the problems can compound. You may need medical treatment---will your health insurance cover it out of network? Do you have the means for food and shelter for the time period you will have to remain in the area? Where will you get your car repaired? If your car takes more than one day to fix you may have to travel hundreds of miles to pick it up. Insurance coverage doesn’t go as far when there are more expenses to cover and more distance involved. It is also important to know what your insurance covers before you start accruing expenses you cannot afford.
When it comes to recovering for damages from your accident, many factors will affect your ability to recover. Which state laws will apply? Where did the accident occur? What is the nature and extent of your injuries and medical care? Where was your medical treatment received—in or out of state? Where are the witnesses, and how can they be effective if out of state? Do the costs of travel and legal expenses merit the bringing of a claim?
The best anyone can do is to prepare for the unexpected. If you are traveling away from home, check up on your insurance coverage and know its limitations, especially when traveling out of the country. (Very few insurers cover losses out of country) Visit the Motor Vehicle Department website for any states you will be traveling in so you are aware of any laws that differ from your hometown, because you will be expected to abide by them. You can also find information on driving laws for any state at Online Traffic Resource Guide. Carry with you important numbers, including your auto and health insurance companies and roadside assistance.
If you do happen to be in an accident in another state you should contact a personal injury attorney that is licensed to practice in that state. It is likely you will not know any attorneys licensed there so it is a good idea to contact the State Bar website in that state. You can most likely find an attorney who specializes in the area of law that you need, and also, find out if the attorney has had any disciplinary record.
If you happen to be traveling thru Arizona and have the misfortune of being in an accident, give me a call. There is no cost to talk to me, and I will help you as best I can whether a formal attorney-client relationship is formed or not. I am a certified specialist in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death. We are here to help.