How Do You Handle A Head-On Collision Case Involving Out-Of-State Drivers?

So, you were just driving along, minding your own business when out of nowhere someone from another state crashes right into you.

Here is what you should do in such a case.

Step 1: Don’t Lose Your Mind at the Crash Site

Everything is probably totally confusing at the time. Cars are smashed up, people might be hurt, and you’re feeling super shaken. But stay calm. The most important thing is making sure everyone is okay.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Call 911 right away if anyone needs an ambulance or if the damage looks really bad. If there’s blood, a car’s smashed up, or if it is a fatal head-on collision, you’ll want professionals on the way as soon as possible.
  • If the cars can still move safely and it’s not too risky, try to get them off the main road so no one else crashes into the mess.
  • Turn your hazard lights on and set up flares or those triangle warning things to alert other drivers about the accident ahead. You don’t want another collision on top of the existing chaos.

While you’re waiting for the police to show up, start collecting some evidence for later:

  • Take several pictures and videos from every angle – get close-ups of the damages, skid marks, everything.,
  • Get the other driver’s name, phone number, license plate, and insurance details. Don’t let them wiggle out of giving you that information by acting all clueless.
  • Ask any witnesses hanging around to share their contact info too in case you need to get their witness testimony later.
  • Make notes about stuff like the weather (was it raining or super foggy?), time of day, and what you remember happening right before the crazy crash.

And no matter what, DO NOT admit fault or blame the other person yet. Like, even if they were 100% the ones who caused it, keep your mouth zipped for now. Let the evidence from the accident scene do the talking instead of pointing fingers immediately.

Step 2: Get Ready to Deal With the Insurance Companies

Dealing with insurance is always a massive headache, but it’s even crazier when you’re in a wreck with someone from across state lines.

First up, call your insurance company literally the second you can. They’ll need all the details about the accident like where/when it happened, the drivers involved, etc. Have that evidence you collected on hand to share.

Here’s where things can get really confusing though. Some states have “no-fault” insurance rules, where your own company pays you no matter what for any accident. But other states are “fault-based,” meaning the driver who caused the whole mess has to pay up.

If you live in a no-fault state and the other driver is from a fault-based state (or vice versa), just get ready for the insurance company to basically play a massive game of “no, you pay!” It might take them forever to figure out whose company is actually responsible.

While you’re waiting for them to work it out, make sure you’re keeping notes on all your communications with both insurance companies. Follow up with the adjusters constantly, send them any extra info or documents they request, and whatever you do, don’t accept the first payout offer they make – it’s probably way too low!

Step 3: When to Get a Lawyer Involved

Sometimes, as hard as you try, the insurance companies are just too rough to handle alone. If they flat-out refuse to pay a single penny or keep giving you a hard time, it’s probably best to bring in help.

Here are some times you’ll definitely want legal muscle in your corner:

  • If the insurance company denies your claim altogether and won’t budge an inch
  • If the other driver was driving around with no insurance at all (the worst!)
  • If your injuries were super serious and you’ll need ongoing physical therapy, medical treatments, etc. for a long time
  • If the settlement money they offered is insulting low compared to your actual damages and costs

However, not every lawyer is created equal for these kinds of tricky interstate collision cases. You’ll want one who checks all these boxes:

  • Mostly takes on personal injury lawsuits and car accident claims – it’s their specialty
  • Has dealt with a ton of past cases just like yours involving out-of-state drivers
  • Wins big impressive out-of-court legal settlements and court rulings all the time, not just measly penny payouts
  • Only gets paid if you get paid a nice sum (called working on “contingency”)

Interview several different lawyers and don’t settle for some weakling public defender type. You want an absolute pitbull in your corner who will bark and bite until you get what’s rightfully yours, got it?

Fair warning though – lawsuits can take forever to play out, especially the really messy convoluted ones between states. We’re talking possibly over a year or more! Just be patient, let your lawyer do their thing, and get ready for a lot of back-and-forth steps like:

  • Having to give your deposition and answer a million questions under oath
  • Your lawyer gathering up evidence, maybe hiring expert witnesses, filing a ton of motions, etc.
  • Possibly having to actually go to court and testify if it gets that far
  • Then even possibly appeals processes afterwards if either side isn’t happy with the initial ruling

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. But having a true expert attorney who deals with interstate accident cases makes it way more manageable.

Step 4: Don’t Neglect Your Own Well-Being

All this insurance and legal chaos is sure to drive you totally crazy if you’re not careful. That’s why, throughout this whole ordeal, you have to make your health and happiness the top priority.

Don’t brush off that stiff neck, pounding headache or any other nagging ache or pain. Get yourself checked out by a doctor right away, even if you think you’re mostly fine. Some injuries can be super sneaky and not show obvious signs right away.

Let’s say you get dizzy spells or have back problems crop up weeks later – you’ll need to be able to prove it was from the original crash, not just a random coincidence. Having that early medical documentation is huge.

If the crash was really scary or traumatic to live through, there’s absolutely no shame in talking to a therapist or counselor to process those intense feelings. Join a support group if you need to. Sharing your thoughts and emotions beats bottling them up inside.

Most importantly, be good to yourself throughout the whole ordeal. Do comforting activities that help you relax and escape the stress, like:

  • Going for long walks or playing sports to clear your mind
  • Hanging with friends who can make you laugh or cuddling a pet
  • Watching your favorite movies, reading books, or having a video game marathon
  • Meditating, doing yoga, or trying other mind-body practices
  • Writing in a journal or diary to get emotions off your chest

You get the idea. The point is, this whole insurance/legal situation is going to be one wild, frustrating ride that’ll try to grab you by the steering wheel and smash your sanity into a guardrail.

Make self-care a priority. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed, having nightmares about the accident or another scary symptom, get help. See a professional, take sick days, do whatever you gotta do. Your mental and physical health is more important than anything.

After all, you can’t fight back against the insurance companies or be fully present for any legal battles if your own well-being is a mess.