What To Do After an Out Of State Car Accident
Ryan Zavodnick | November 9, 2019 | Car Accidents
You have to travel to Austin, TX for work. You hop on a flight from PHL to AUS and rent a car when you land. As you’re driving to your hotel, you’re broadsided by another vehicle as they run a speed through an intersection to beat the light.
You know what you have to do when you get into an accident in Philadelphia. What happens when you get into a car accident in Texas or some other state in the country? What should you do? How is getting into a car accident outside of Pennsylvania different? Here’s what you need to know.
Don’t Delay Medical Care. See a Doctor Right Away.
You should go to the nearest hospital right away, even if you were only involved in a minor crash. Sometimes it can take a while for signs and symptoms of an injury to manifest. Delaying medical care could be incredibly dangerous.
You might’ve sustained internal injuries that, if left unchecked, could lead to life-threatening or life-changing complications. Internal bleeding, organ damage, or brain injuries often require immediate medical care. If you wait to see your doctor once you get home, your condition may have progressed and gotten a lot worse.
You’ll also want to go to the doctor right away because you want to make sure that you can prove that your accident caused your injuries. The sooner you seek help, the stronger your argument for compensation, should you decide to file an injury claim or lawsuit. If you delay care, it’ll be easier for at-fault parties to argue that your injuries can’t be tied to the crash.
Call the Police and Report the Accident Immediately
Your first call after an accident should be to 911. Tell them if you need medical transport and ask to have a police officer sent to the scene. When the police arrive, they’ll conduct a preliminary investigation and document the crash. The police report generated by their investigation can include information that might be critical down the line. This might include details about:
- Weather and/or traffic conditions
- Parties involved
- Property damage, and
- Preliminary assessments of fault.
Should you decide to submit a claim to insurance or file a lawsuit, your personal injury lawyer can use this information as they investigate and build your case.
Determine the State’s Laws Regarding Fault
Different states deal with fault in different ways. There are actually three main ways to deal with negligence after an accident: Contributory fault, pure comparative fault, and modified comparative fault. When you’re involved in an accident out of state, how that state handles fault matters.
- Contributory Negligence: you’ll be prohibited from recovering compensation if you are partly responsible for causing an accident.
- Pure Comparative Negligence: you can still recover compensation after an accident, but your damages will be reduced by your degree of fault
- Modified Comparative Negligence: you may be able to recover compensation after an accident, as long as you share it less than a set amount of the blame.
Pennsylvania has a modified comparative negligence law. The bar to recovery is 51 percent. This means that you are eligible to seek compensation as long as you do not share more than half of the responsibility for causing an accident.
Texas is also a modified comparative fault state. In fact, Texas also has a 51 percent bar to recovery. So, if you live in Pennsylvania but are involved in a car accident in Austin, TX, this particular rule will be the same.
If, however, you’re involved in an accident in California, you’ll be subject to California state law. California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that you can recover compensation, even if you were 90 percent at fault for an accident.
On the other hand, if you got into an accident while driving through Maryland or Virginia, you would not be able to get any money at all if you shared even one percent of the responsibility for causing an accident.