Summer is finally here, and for many of us, that means vacation. But if you’re hitting the road this summer, keep in mind that many others will be joining you. The summer months can be very dangerous as highways become more congested with vacation traffic.
While no one expects to be involved in a car accident while on vacation, it’s more common than you may think. Remember to drive safely and know the laws. And if you happen to end up in a car accident, know how to protect your rights.
Know How Your Insurance Works When You’re in Another State
You’ll be happy to know that your Pennsylvania auto insurance policy will almost always determine your rights in a car accident, and your first-party medical benefits coverage “follows” you if you travel to another state – or even out of the country. That means it’s more important than ever to review your insurance policy and understand how it applies if you’re involved in an out-of-state car accident. If you have questions about your coverage or how it applies when you’re in another state, contact your insurance agent.
Note: Every state has its own set of conditions that could affect your claim. If you’re seriously injured in an accident, you should consider contacting a Pennsylvania attorney for help.
Also if you’re traveling out of the area, know the laws of the states you’ll travel through. Local law enforcement officials will expect you to follow their state laws. If you don’t, you could face steep fines, jail time, and jeopardize your legal rights in an accident.
Taking a boat, ATV, or motorcycle on vacation? Make sure you review those policies as well. You should have other health insurance, because these policies may not include medical coverage.
Steps to Protect Your Legal Rights After an Accident
Car accidents are very scary and stressful situations – especially if you’re on vacation. If you’re involved in an accident, be prepared:
- Step 1: Call 911 immediately. If you’re involved in accident, it’s important that you seek medical attention for yourself and anyone else injured in the accident. Then, file a police report.
- Step 2: Preserve evidence. Take photographs of the accident scene, injuries, and any other damages in order to strengthen your case.
- Step 3: Collect information. Collect the name, address, birthdate, phone and driver’s license number, and insurance information from the other driver. Write down the make, year, model, license plate number, and vehicle identification number of the other car as well. If there were witnesses, gather their contact information.
- Step 4: Watch what you say and sign. If the other driver was at fault, their insurance company will do everything they can to settle our case for less than you deserve. They will want you to give a recorded statement in order to make a clear-cut car wreck into one from which they can escape liability. Never give a recorded statement to the other person’s insurance company, and don’t give one to your own unless you’ve consulted with an attorney. Don’t allow them to take advantage of you just because they know the system.
Prevention is Best: Keep Safety in Mind
Safe driving is the most important factor for preventing an accident. Here are a few safety tips for consumers to keep in mind while on the road:
- Stay alert and avoid in-car distractions. If you’re not paying attention to the road, you could end up rear-ending the car in front of you or sideswiping another car. Follow the state cell phone and texting laws.
- Wear your seat belt. If you have young children, make sure to buckle them in a Department of Transportation-approved car or booster seat.
- Be patient and obey posted speed limits. Be especially careful if you’re traveling in a construction zone or safety corridor, as these roadways can have increased fines and penalties for speeding.
- Don’t drink and drive. No matter where you are in the U.S., operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is always illegal and extremely dangerous.
Summer vacations are great to travel and enjoy the company of friends and family. Don’t let an accident spoil your fun this summer. Do your best to avoid the ER.
Attorney Michael H. Rosenzweig has over 23 years of experience helping people injured in all types of accidents. He is a partner and litigation manager at Edgar Snyder & Associates, a Pittsburgh-based law firm that has helped over 40,000 people. For more information, visitEdgarSnyder.com.