If you live in Alabama, we probably don’t have to tell you all the reasons why our great state is a tourist destination for people from around the world. AL.com reports Alabama has set records in the number of visitors coming to Alabama and tourism expenditures for seven years in a row, reaching an all-time high in 2017 with 26 million travelers. White-sand beaches, gorgeous state parks and some of the tastiest food available are just a few factors driving tourism to Alabama.
More tourists means more people on Alabama roads, especially during the summer. Being in a car accident at any time can be a scary experience, but when you’re in an accident with someone who doesn’t live in the state, you might be wondering how to handle the accident. Is anything different? What steps should you take to protect yourself? What things should you be aware of? Here are some answers to the question of what to do after an accident with a driver from another state.
With any car accident, typically the state in which the car accident occurs determines which driving laws must be followed. This means, if you’re in an accident in Alabama with a vacationer who is not from Alabama, they must still be following Alabama driving laws. If they’re not, that could affect a car accident claim.
Some interesting Alabama driving laws residents may not even be aware of include:
- Going down a hill in neutral is illegal.
- Driving over a fire hose in the street is illegal.
- It is illegal to drive while blindfolded.
If you’re in a car accident with a driver who is exhibiting illegal driving behaviors like these, it’s important to let the police who come to the scene know about them. Documenting evidence at any car crash is essential to help increase a claim’s likelihood of success. Even factors like dark window tinting may be illegal, so it’s important to note everything about the other driver’s vehicle and driving behavior after an accident.
After you’re in any car accident, you should take the following steps, whether it’s with someone who lives in Alabama or with someone who is in from out of town.
Move Out of Danger
Move the vehicles to the side of the road, unless there is threat of fire or an explosion. In that case, flee from the vehicle as far away as possible. If you are seriously injured and can’t move, ask for someone to dial 911.
Call Emergency Services
Even if you are not obviously seriously injured immediately after the accident, it’s wise to call emergency services. Before they arrive, note details about the other vehicle(s), including license plate number, state, and vehicle make and model, in case the other parties in the accident flee the scene. Police can document the accident and gather information from the other driver. You may have injuries that aren’t immediately apparent, so consider taking medical services offered, too.
Document the Scene
For the police report and for your own records, take photos of the vehicles and any injuries you have. Note what state of mind the other driver is in and anything they mention, such as an apology or an admittance of guilt. Be aware of any forms of negligence that may have contributed to the accident, such as a driver driving while intoxicated or while looking at directions on a smartphone. Be honest with what you communicate to police.
Make sure you get the full contact information of the other driver(s), including driver’s license number, license plate, insurance company and policy number, and vehicle description. If there were witnesses at the accident, also ask for their names and contact information, and point police to talk to them.
Don’t Incriminate Yourself
A common first instinct in car accidents is to apologize. Avoid doing this, because it can hurt your claim. Also, never sign anything that is not given to you by police or your insurance company. For example, if the other driver wants you to sign some sort of proof of the accident before police arrive, do not.
Contact a Birmingham Car Accident Attorney
Insurance companies will want to pay as little compensation as possible for an accident. The company that represents the other driver(s) will especially want to work on their clients’ behalf, which could mean less for you.
If you’ve had serious injuries while in a car accident with someone from another state, before talking with your insurance company, you should contact a Birmingham car accident lawyer. You may even experience a case where the out-of-state driver doesn’t have proper car insurance, or where the driver is not properly licensed. In instances like these, protection is vital.
A lawyer will be able to navigate the complexities of the insurance system and protect you so you get the full compensation you deserve. Dealing with another party who doesn’t even live in the same state as you can get complicated. An attorney will be your advocate and work on your behalf.