The summer vacation season is finally upon us. For many families, this means it’s time to take to the open road. For many, this also means driving an unfamiliar vehicle in an unfamiliar city, which can lead to a car accident. Nothing can sour a summer vacation faster than a car accident…so, what do you do if you’re in a car accident while on vacation? Here are some tips to help you get things straightened out and get back to having fun.
Tip 1: Always Be Prepared
Obviously, no one wants to have a car accident especially while on vacation. However, it’s better to be “safe than sorry”. Before you head out on your trip, be sure to program the number of your insurance agent or provider into your phone. It may also be wise to get the numbers for emergency services (for example, the police department) in the area you’ll be visiting.
Tip 2: Be A Social Butterfly
If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s important to make a connection and get the contact information of not just the other party (or parties) involved but also of any witnesses. There are several smartphone apps available that make taking down information or recording witness statements a snap.
Tip 3: Call The Law
If you’re in a car accident contact the local police department. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. That police report may be the difference between you getting the compensation you deserve and walking away with nothing.
Tip 4: Take A Sick Day
If you have a car accident while on vacation your first instinct will probably be to “get it over with as quickly as possible”; however, if you are injured, even if the injury seems minor, you should seek medical attention. A minor injury may become more severe down the road resulting in things like chronic neck or back pain. If you do not document the injury at the time of the accident you may have difficulty collecting compensation or getting it covered later. In addition, getting treatment early may help mitigate future problems.
Tip 5: Consider Counsel
If you are out-of-state when you have a car accident, it may be advisable to at least consult with an attorney if not obtain one who is in the area. If the matter ends up in court (civil or criminal) either with you as the plaintiff or defendant, any proceedings will take place in the state where the car accident occurred. You’ll want a local attorney to represent you and guide you through the process.
Tip 6: Go Over Repairs With A Fine Tooth Comb
If you end up taking your car to a body shop while on vacation be sure to check over the work carefully. Not all body shops are out to rip you off but not all of them are 100% honest either. Keep in mind that the body shop probably knows you’re from out to town and are unlikely to drive all the way back if you find mistakes or faulty repairs. Look over all repairs carefully to ensure they are to your satisfaction. You may also want to only consider body shops that offer nationwide warranty programs or have a branch close to you.
Tip 7: Looks Aren’t Everything
If the damage to your car is minor or purely cosmetic consider holding off on repairs until you return home. This will allow you to use your preferred body shop. In addition, it can help you avoid the issues mentioned under Tip 6. Please note that this does NOT mean you should hold off on filing an insurance claim. You’ll want to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after your car accident.
Photo Credit: Robbie Howell via Compfight cc