Here in the Pacific Northwest, we await this time of year for nine whole months: these magical weeks of blue skies, clear mountain views, warm sunny days and breathtaking sunsets. I truly believe there is no greater place to be on earth than Seattle in the summertime.
But for many adventurous types that want to take advantage of their kids’ summer break from school and seek a reprieve from the seasonal tourists that flock to experience this stunning season in our city, summer is also a time for many families to take vacations outside of the state. And often times this means an increased risk for accidents and car collisions while we are traveling on unfamiliar roads, in an unfamiliar car, with unknown local rules and laws.
What happens if you are in a car accident while visiting another state? First and foremost: seek urgent medical attention if you are injured. Your own auto policy’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will cover you if you are hurt driving any car, regardless of who is at fault, and even if you are not in Washington. Your PIP will also cover you if you are a passenger. If you are driving a family member or friend’s car, depending upon the state, the vehicle owner’s PIP insurance may possibly provide an additional layer of coverage as well. You will need to instruct any medical providers to bill your PIP insurance at the time that you seek medical attention.
If you are not at fault, then you will want to consult with an attorney to determine the statute of limitations that dictates the amount of time you have to bring a bodily injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance in that state.
Before you travel, it is a good time to check your auto policy to assure that you have not waived PIP insurance, and to check what your limits are.
And, remember the sun screen!