Where to File a Claim If You're Out of State

January 27, 2012

Knowing where and how to file a claim when involved in an accident out of state is an important piece of knowledge. It is just as important as knowing what you car insurance covers. It is necessary to get your file claimed as a soon as possible so you start the process for medical bills that need payment, car rentals, repairs to your car or claims made upon you by another driver involved in the out of state accident. Here are some guidelines to follow.

Call Immediately

Almost every insurance company will provide a claims telephone number of the car you are required to carry or keep in your car. It is imperative you call your insurance company immediately after securing the accident scene by calling the proper local authorities if the accident is a major one incapacitating one or more vehicles. Also call for immediate medical help if required. Make sure you follow all of your insurance provider’s instructions to protect your liability as well as your physical well being.

Check Your Coverage

If you have full collision coverage, your provider is required to fight whatever claim someone may file against you or work on your behalf when filing a claim against another motorist when an accident occurs in another state. Additionally, if there are is a need to file a lawsuit in the state where the accident took place, with full coverage you should not have to return to participate in any legal proceedings. However, if you do not have full coverage, or the coverage you do carry does not meet the requests of the other motorist if filing a claim against you, then you probably need to hire an attorney. Keep in mind hiring an attorney back in your home state may require that attorney to arrange for local representation in the state where the accident happened. You might want to consider cutting out the middle man by seeking a local attorney that specializes in auto accidents.

Gather Accident Information

Your insurance provider or attorney may request accident information including any eye witness reports. Make sure you obtain the names, telephone number and addresses of any witnesses to the accident. Also, try to obtain photos of the accident scene immediately. If applicable, obtain all police reports even if your insurance provider and attorney plan to do so. Also, obtain information about all other parties involved in the accident including vehicle makes and models, year, color and any extraordinary features such as if the vehicle had a car top carrier, hauling a trailer, etc.

Be Prepared for Court Costs

If you are being sued for an accident that happened out of state, be prepared to possibly incur the cost for several court appearances. You may, or may not, be required to appear in person if the litigation is limited to arbitration of attorney-to-attorney negotiations. However, highly contested court procedures will more than likely require your personal testimony, thus, increasing your costs for time off from work, travel, lodging and meals.

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