When you’re on vacation, it can sometimes be easy to forget that real-life things like car accidents can happen.
When they do, real life settles in very quickly.
If you’re hundreds of miles away from your familiar car shop, driving down new roads, maybe even using a rental vehicle, figuring out what to do can take its toll.
Don’t stress too much! The steps you need to follow are more intuitive than you think; you just need to be prepared.
Stay Calm, Document Everything, and Focus On The Essentials
When faced with an unexpected personal injury or disaster to manage, especially when you’re cut off from your usual support systems, you may find it easy to freeze.
Here’s an essential checklist for managing car troubles when you’re away from home:
- Remain as calm as possible. Try not to think too much about the bills and the logistics you’ll need to handle later on. Concentrate on taking this process one step at a time.
- Make sure that everyone involved is safe. If you need to call an ambulance, do. If you need to move from the middle of the road, do.
- Call for a police officer, if you haven’t done so already. Particularly with an out-of-state accident, you will want the official timed-and-dated police report noting the specifics of your accident.
- Go to a hospital and seek medical care. This is critical, even if you don’t feel like you sustained any injuries after the accident. Adrenaline can reduce your ability to feel pain, making you less aware of any injuries you may have.
- Consider the rest of your travel arrangements with care. You may need to be available for local follow-up, or you may need continued medical care before you board a plane. Follow your doctor’s advice, and change your plans if necessary.
Out-Of-State Accident Considerations: Finding a Lawyer and Navigating State Law
Once you’ve taken immediate steps to care for your health, you’ll need to start the claims process.
Doing this at home, in your familiar setting, would already be stressful enough.
Here are the essentials to consider when you’re trying to initiate this process in a new city:
- You will need an attorney from the state where the accident happened to assist with your case. While a lawyer you know from home could technically help you with legal research, you’ll need an area attorney to attend any formal proceedings associated with your claim. Working with a local attorney will also help with local investigations.
- You’ll need to determine the damages you’re eligible to claim under local state law. Each state has slightly differing laws about what the victim can claim, and those laws may not be intuitive or easy to find. Fortunately, if you’re working with a lawyer licensed to practice in the state of your accident, they will be extremely aware of any applicable state laws.
- You’ll need to navigate the insurance laws in the state where your accident happened. For example, in your home state, you may expect insurance companies to pay for any hospital charges related to your accident. In some states, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is only expected to reimburse the victim’s insurance for paid (not billed) expenses. In other states, the insurance will pay a lump-sum settlement that includes compensation for medical bills (and other damages).
If you need to find a good lawyer in a new city, it’s imperative to do some quick thinking and research. Instead of working with the very first lawyer you find online, look for a law firm that:
- Has specific car accident experience
- Works on a contingent-fee basis, so you don’t owe money until you get a settlement
- Has good reviews and recommendations online
- Responds promptly to your initial phone call or email
Call Cullotta Law to Manage Auto Accidents in the Chicagoland Area
If you experience car troubles when you are visiting Ilinois, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and alone.
Fortunately, that isn’t the case. If anything dangerous happens to you or your loved ones due to a car accident or vehicle malfunction, the experienced attorneys at Cullotta Bravo Law Firm will be there to help you navigate any stressful insurance claims and hold the appropriate people accountable for their actions.
Call our offices at 630-225-8341 for more information, or contact us online.