What to Do If You’ve Been Injured While on Vacation in Another State
Personal injuries are common and sometimes cut and dry. However, if you've been injured while vacationing in another state, the process can get a little complicated. While you may just want to go home and then deal with the issue, you should start dealing with the injury immediately. If you would like to know more about what you should do if you've been injured while on vacation, keep reading.
Report the Accident Immediately
You'll want to report the accident as soon as possible to someone in charge. For example, if you slipped and fell at the hotel, contact the management and report the accident. Similarly, if the accident occurs at a store, contact the manager or store owner.
Of course, sometimes, you have no manager to contact, such as with auto collisions. In this case, you'll want to contact the local police to report the injury. Don't forget to talk to anyone who could provide witness statements so you can provide their information to the appropriate people too.
Take Pictures of the Scene
You should take several photos, with your phone or otherwise, of the scene of your injury. For example, if something caused you to fall, take a picture of that item and the surrounding area. Or if you are in a car accident, take pictures of the damage to your car and the other car if possible.
Seek Medical Attention Before Going Home
You may need emergency medical attention right after the accident, but even if you don't, make sure to see a doctor before you go home if you are injured, and soon after the accident. You might want to wait until you can see your own doctor, but waiting could pose a few problems.
First, this might make the courts and insurance provider feel injuries are less severe than they are. Second, this does not allow you to mitigate your injuries. As a result, they may worsen, which can affect your case. Do everything you can to get the treatment you need to recover as quickly and as well as possible. Therefore, even once you go home, make sure to continue following the doctor’s advice.
Check Your Insurance Policy
You should check your insurance policy to find out what is covered. Some insurance policies may not even provide coverage if you are out of state. In addition, if the accident involved your vehicle, you'll want to check your auto insurance. Different levels of coverage provide different benefits, such as coverage for a rental car or medical payment coverages.
Decide Where to File the Claim
In addition to immediatly reporting your injury, you should also notify the at-fault party's insurance carrier as quickly as possible, preferrably through your lawyer.
Keep in mind also, regardless of where the defendant lives, your claim and lawsuit will follow the rules of the state in which the accident happened. This can be problematic in some instances, but luckily, South Carolina follows comparative negligence laws, which state that if the at-fault party is at least 51% respsonsible for causing your injuries, then you can claim damages against them. In states like North Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama, on the other hand, you may not get anything if you were even 1% responsible. Thanks to the rules, however, even if you are from North Carolina, you can often get a settlement even when you were partially responsible for accidents occuring in South Carolina.
Find a Local Attorney
Another step to take before you head back home is to find a local attorney. You can use an attorney from your own state, but that could put you at a disadvantage. Local attorneys from South Carolina better understand the laws of the state. An attorney from Washington State, for example, may be great at handling cases in Washington, but if they probably don't know the laws of South Carolina, and this can be problematic for your case. Moreover, a lawyer not licensed in South Carolina may lack some negotiating power with the insurance company because he or she is precluded from bringing a lawsuit.
Similarly, local attorneys are likely more familiar with people in the local legal system, such as judges or attorneys. This may put them at a better advantage at negotiating than an attorney no one knows.
Personal injury cases happen all the time, but when they occur while you're on vacation, they can leave you with a lot of questions. Ideally, you'll want to seek treatment and start the process before you leave. If you would like to know more, contact us at Palmetto Injury Lawyers LLC today.