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Car Accident While Traveling - What You Need to Do

Car Accident While Traveling - What You Need to Do

Traveling by car is one of the most popular ways to get around, whether going on a road trip for vacation or simply commuting to work every day. Unfortunately, with so many cars on the road, accidents are common. According to the National Safety Council, there are around 283 million registered vehicles in the US. And, according to the NHSTA, nearly 6 million car crashes occurred in 2022 in the United States, resulting in over 2.5 million injuries and around 42,000 deaths.

At the same time, tourism is huge in the US, with over 50 million international visitors in 2022 alone, many of whom chose to rent a car during their travels. This means thousands of tourists are involved in car accidents every year in unfamiliar places far from home. If you find yourself in an auto accident while traveling, here is what you need to do.

Report the Car Accident Immediately
If any injuries occurred, call 911 right away to get emergency responders on site. Even if there are no injuries, you’ll want to call the local police department to file an official report. Make sure to gather all relevant information like the other driver’s name, insurance details, license plate number and any eyewitness accounts. Photos of damage and skid marks can also help document the scene. The police report will be crucial if you need to make an insurance claim later.

Seek Medical Attention
While your first instinct might be to downplay any aches and pains, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor after an accident even if you feel fine. Symptoms of serious injuries like whiplash or concussions sometimes take hours or days to appear. Having your injuries documented in a medical report will help support your claim when dealing with insurance companies later on. If possible, go directly to the emergency room from the accident scene by ambulance.

Consult a Car Accident Attorney
Speaking with a car accident attorney should be one of your first calls after leaving the scene. An experienced lawyer can walk you through the next steps and protect your rights in any negotiations with insurance companies. Car accident attorneys can also determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit against any negligent parties to recover damages like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and vehicle repairs or replacement.


Contact Your Insurance Provider
Notify your car insurance company about the accident right away. Cooperate fully by providing your account of what happened and let them guide you through the claims process. If you were not at fault, the other driver’s insurer should cover costs like repairs, medical bills, and a rental car while yours is in the shop. If you only carry liability coverage, things get more complicated if the accident was your fault. Having an attorney to negotiate directly with insurers takes this burden off your shoulders.

Deal with Car Rental/Repairs
If you rented the car, contact the rental agency right after reporting the crash. They should have procedures in place to handle accidents involving their vehicles, including providing a replacement rental if yours is undriveable. If it’s your own car, find a reputable repair shop to assess and fix any damage. Save receipts for repairs to submit to insurers. Make sure you get the most out of your coverage by having an attorney review repair estimates - they can flag any unreasonable charges.

Relax and Recover
It’s normal to feel traumatized and overwhelmed after a collision. Focus first on recovering from any injuries before worrying too much about damaged vehicles, insurance claims and potential lawsuits. Let your attorney handle most of the legwork and negotiations. Take advantage of benefits like medical leave and claims adjusters’ rental car coverage during this time. With the right legal support, you can get your life back on track after a traveling auto accident.