Being involved in a car accident is never ideal, but with March Break around the corner it is smart to prepare for an accident that may happen abroad.
When traveling to the U.S., you should know that the law of the state where the accident takes place applies. This means that even though you might not be familiar with local laws, they still apply to your situation.
However, if there is a need to claim no fault or accident benefits, you have the option of claiming benefits based on the law of the state you are in at the time of the accident, or you can claim benefits as recognized in Ontario (assuming you live in Ontario). This means you can use an Ontario lawyer to guide you through this process.
Getting into a motor vehicle accident away from home can also be confusing. You don’t always know the local laws and the moments following an accident can cause people to lose their ability to think clearly.
It is imperative you follow proper protocol after an accident, so here are helpful tips to guide you through the process:
- Take pictures of everything – Make sure to take pictures of your car, the other person’s car, their licence plate, their documents (licence, ownership and insurance) and if it is safe to do so, take photos of the scene as well.
- Identify a witness – People assume that the police will take care of finding witnesses and taking their statements. This is not always the case, and finding witnesses later is much harder than immediately after an accident.
- Go to a hospital – Even if you haven’t been seriously injured, it is necessary to get examined by a doctor. Adrenaline and shock from the accident tend to affect a person’s ability to identify injuries.
- Always report the accident to the police – Especially in a foreign jurisdiction, it is always recommended to report motor vehicle accidents to the police to ensure proper due process.
- Talk to your insurance provider with a lawyer – It is important to report an accident to your insurance provider; however, it is advised that a lawyer be present for any statements. A lawyer will help file a claim properly and ensure the right steps are taken if accident benefits are required.
- Refrain from commenting on how you feel – You should try to refrain from commenting on how you feel or the state of your injuries. People tend to answer a simple “how are you feeling” with the words “I’m fine” or “I’m ok,” but this may hurt you when trying to claim accident benefits as everything you say during or after the accident can be used against you.