Summer is coming and people are hitting the roads in record numbers. What if you get into an accident when you are out of town or in another state? Generally, your car insurance policy covers you anywhere in the United States, a U.S. territory or possession and Canada. However, to avoid unpleasant surprises, check your policy before you take off on your trip. Remember Ben Franklin’s saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Knowing how to handle an accident away from home can make dealing with one easier — and might just save your much-needed vacation.
The first thing to do if you have a car accident is, of course, to get medical attention. Call 911 and be sure the police create an accident report. Then call your insurance company. They likely have an 800 number. Your insurer assigns a claims adjuster, who may be local or from your hometown, to your case. Whoever it is, he or she can do much to put your mind at ease. Your adjuster can supply you with the number for a local tow truck if needed. Some insurance companies will pay part of the cost of towing your car home if you want.
Or, if you prefer to have the car repaired locally, most insurance companies have national networks of reputable repair shops. A local adjuster is assigned to estimate your car’s damage and works with the repair shop. If your insurance covers the rental of a vehicle while your car is being repaired, that may just be your ticket home.
The laws of the state where the accident occurs have jurisdiction over the accident proceedings. However, the involved individuals’ policies also affect the proceedings. In a best-case scenario, you have a no-fault policy and are injured in a no-fault state. If the laws in both states are similar, you may have an easier time recovering benefits. If you have a fault policy and the accident takes place in a no-fault state, you may need a qualified auto accident attorney to recover benefits from the at-fault driver. An attorney with experience in working and litigating car accidents files suit to recover the damages to which you are entitled.
If you are involved in a car accident away from home, the experienced attorneys at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh have represented Floridians in over 10,000 accident and personal injury cases. With offices in Sarasota, Bradenton, St. Petersburg and throughout Florida's Suncoast they are ready to help with your case.