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What to do in an Out of Town Accident

Steve Wagner

Car accidents are scary enough when they occur in familiar territory, but if you happen to be involved in an accident while you are out of town, it’s helpful to know the steps you should take before that accident ever happens.

Typically, the steps you will take out of town are the same ones you should take at home, but here are a few things to contemplate before you make a trip over the holidays:

  • Always check with your insurance and notify them of where you will be going, how long you will be gone, and what vehicle you plan to take. If they know those things ahead of time, they can update you on any coverage information you might need to know, help you plan for an emergency, and even give you immediate assistance lines to call in case their offices are going to be closed.
  • Make sure you pack an emergency preparedness kit in advance. If you are involved in an accident and end up stranded, you and your family will be extremely grateful for the few minutes you took to prepare this kit before your trip. Include items like: blankets and cold weather gear, flashlights and batteries, water bottles, snacks, road salt, a shovel, a spare tire, orange cones, and anything else you think might benefit you if you were stranded in inclement weather due to an accident.
  • Call the authorities immediately. Before you even exit your vehicle, call the local authorities and notify them of the accident. If you can see the license plate number of the other vehicle, give that to the police when you call so they will have it on record.
  • Get off the road. Don’t move vehicles or tamper with the scene of the accident, but if you are in the middle of the road, get somewhere safe so you won’t get hit again while you are waiting on authorities.
  • Get the name, number, and insurance information of the other driver.
  • Document the entire scene. Use your smartphone or just a regular camera and take pictures of every aspect of the accident. Include pictures of the road surrounding the accident to document any weather issues that may have been a factor.
  • Get the names and numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident. If the other driver’s insurance refuses to pay and the case ends up in court, it will benefit you immensely to have witnesses.
  • Never sign anything. If you are asked to sign a document saying something about how the accident happened, don’t sign it without the presence of a lawyer. A lawyer can tell you if the document is necessary and truthful, and they can help you navigate the legal matters that often follow a motor vehicle accident.
  • Call your insurance company. They can help you find a tow truck and get your car to the shop of your choice, even when you are out of town.

The lawyers at Wagner Reese hope you have a safe and happy holiday season, but the reality is that some of you may be involved in motor vehicle accidents. We want to make sure you have the knowledge and information needed to see you through that accident safely. Give us a call if you need anything this holiday season. You can always schedule a free consultation at (888) 204-8440.

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