When you find yourself in a car accident while out-of-state, it can be a disorienting and distressing experience. Dealing with potential injuries and vehicle damage, grappling with the legal and logistical implications, all while in an unfamiliar setting, is a situation no one would wish for. However, understanding the appropriate steps to take in such situations is crucial to safeguarding your rights and seeking the compensation required to rebuild your life.
If you have found yourself in a car accident while out-of-state, understand that you do not have to face the resulting challenges alone. The thought of filing a claim may seem daunting, but the skilled team at Martin & Helms is here to shoulder the legal burden and guide you through the process. Let’s explore the key points you need to know in order to navigate an out-of-state accident effectively.
Understanding the applicable laws and jurisdiction for an out-of-state crash
If you’re from Alabama and traveling in another state when you get into a collision, you file your claim in that other state. Each state has its own legal procedures, insurance requirements, and statutes of limitations, and all of these factors can significantly impact your options and the process of seeking compensation. You’ll need to do some research if you’re injured out-of-state.
What if I’m from another state and I get hurt in a wreck in Alabama?
Call us. If you’re injured, you’re going to need a good lawyer because the laws in Alabama are tough.
Alabama operates under a contributory negligence system, making it one of the strictest states for car accident claims. Contributory negligence systems stipulate that unless a victim can be shown to bear zero responsibility for an accident, they may be prohibited from receiving any compensation.
In Alabama, this is an uphill battle. It can be done – our attorneys have certainly taken on tough cases and secured compensation for clients – but it can also be a challenge. (Alabama injury lawyers are a tough breed, folks.) You’ll want a personal injury lawyer with experience under their belt, and who knows how the legal system works. You’ll want someone who has the resources to handle a tough fight against the insurance company, too. You’ll want someone with a track record of successful verdicts and settlements.
Immediate steps to take after an out-of-state accident
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident while out-of-state, there are specific steps you should take to improve your odds of a successful claim. However, your safety should be your top priority, which is why seeking medical attention must come first. Not only is this critical to reduce the risk of further injury, but it can provide vital documentation and added weight to your claim.
Once you’ve been treated for any injuries, take the following steps:
- Document what happened to you. Take photos of your injuries, the accident scene, and any vehicle damage. Also, take down the other party’s contact and insurance information, as well as any witness statements that may be helpful to your case.
- Save resulting bills. Keep track of any expenses you incur due to the accident, including medical bills and vehicle repairs. Ask for itemized receipts, and store them in a safe place. Written correspondence from your employer may also be helpful if you’ve incurred any lost wages.
- Contact a local attorney. Attorneys, like teachers, are licensed to practice in specific states. So if you get into a wreck out-of-state, you’ll need an attorney who can practice in that state. If you’re unsure who to call, you can find some ideas about how to choose a personal injury attorney here.
But if you’re the traveler, we hope you’ll call Martin & Helms, P.C. for help. We’ve worked with a lot of visitors and vacationers; we want to help you, too.
Types of compensation you may be entitled to recover after a car accident
Experiencing an out-of-state accident has the potential to touch every aspect of your life. With all of the expenses, emotional challenges, and life setbacks that can result from such an accident, it’s almost always necessary for victims to receive multiple forms of compensation. Depending on the accident and your specific situation, you may be entitled to any combination of the following types of damages in your claim:
- Medical Expenses. This covers compensation for the cost of medical treatment, medications, emergency transportation, rehabilitation, and ongoing care related to your injuries.
- Property Damage. This includes coverage for the repair or replacement of your damaged vehicle or other property.
- Lost Wages. This includes compensation for income lost due to missed work or reduced earning capacity resulting from the accident.
- Pain and Suffering. This covers damages awarded for physical pain, emotional distress, and the impact on your overall quality of life.
- Punitive Damages. You may be able to pursue additional compensation in cases where an at-fault party acted with ill intent, or if their behavior was grossly negligent or reckless.
- Wrongful Death. This is a separate type of lawsuit where a victim’s surviving relatives may be compensated for the tragic loss of their loved one. Some states also allow for the recovery of damages on behalf of the victim, if he or she suffered before death. Other states only allow for punitive damages in wrongful death cases.
Navigating the legal complexities of an out-of-state car accident can be challenging. This is where an experienced car accident attorney becomes invaluable. A knowledgeable legal team like ours can guide you through the claims process, advocate aggressively for your rights, and push for the full compensation you deserve. If you have been involved in a car accident while out-of-state, the dedicated attorneys at Martin & Helms, P.C. are here to help.
At Martin & Helms, P.C. we’ve been proudly serving the Tennessee Valley community for more than twenty years. We are fiercely devoted to our valued clients, and have the necessary experience to build airtight, winning cases. Reach out to us today for a consultation by calling our office or by submitting our contact form, and let us put you on the path to a brighter future. We serve the Huntsville, Decatur, Madison, Athens, and the North Alabama region.