Out Of State Car Accidents
Getting into a car accident is always a shocking and scary experience, but even more so when the crash happens outside of your state of residence. Out of state car accidents are not uncommon in the United States. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are approximately 6.70 million motor vehicle accidents per year. Some of these crashes involve out of state motorists who travel to other states for vacation or road trips. At The Mark Casto Law Firm, our experienced car accident attorneys handle claims arising from motor vehicle crashes in and out of state. Consider speaking with our knowledgeable attorneys to determine what steps you should take after an out of state accident in your particular circumstance. Call 706-940-4002 to receive a free consultation.
What Is an Out of State Car Accident?
An out of state accident is a crash that occurs outside of a motorist's state of residence. For example, if you live in Georgia but experience an auto accident in Florida, you have been in what is called an “out of state accident.”
When someone is involved in a car accident in another state, they may ask the following three questions:
- “Does my insurance company cover out of state crashes?”
- “Where should I bring an insurance claim?”
- “Where should I file a lawsuit to seek compensation?”
Answers to these questions depend on the circumstances of your crash and the state where your accident occurred. Consider contacting an experienced attorney at The Mark Casto Law Firm to help you answer your questions and ensure your legal rights remain protected.
Where Should You File a Lawsuit After an Out of State Accident?
Generally, a person who sustained injuries in an auto accident can bring a lawsuit in the state where the at-fault party resides or the state where the crash occurred.
Example. John, who lives in Georgia, goes on a road trip to Florida. While driving in Florida, John was struck by David, who was intoxicated at the time of the accident. David, who lives in Texas, was visiting his family in Florida.
John (from Georgia) may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in the state where he resides if any of the following is true:
- The at-fault party consents to be sued in your home state;
- The crash occurred in your home state
- The at-fault driver is also from the state where you reside; or
- The at-fault driver has some connections to your home state (e.g., the driver owns a house or runs a business in your state).
Whether or not you can sue the at-fault motorist in your home state depends on many factors. Consider speaking with an attorney from The Mark Casto Law Firm to review your particular situation and determine if your home state has jurisdiction over the at-fault driver who caused your out of state accident.
Does Your Insurance Policy Cover Out of State Accidents?
One of the most common questions injured victims have after out of state car accidents is, “Does my insurance policy cover accidents that occur outside of my home state?” Many people mistakenly believe that their auto insurance company does not cover car accidents outside of their home state.
Generally, your auto insurance policy will most likely cover your out of state accidents no matter where the collision occurs. Most auto insurance companies cover all 50 states, and some even cover policyholders who drive in Canada.
However, before embarking on an out of state road trip, you may want to read the terms of your insurance policy to determine whether or not it will cover accidents that occur outside of your state.
No-Fault vs. Fault States in Out of State Car Accidents
One of the most complicated issues surrounding out of state accidents is the fact that all states have different approaches to auto insurance requirements for their residents. Most states are the so-called “fault” states, while some states adopted the no-fault insurance system.
In no-fault states, drivers must purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage that will pay for their medical bills and other expenses regardless of fault. If a driver from a no-fault state gets into an out of state car accident in a state with no-fault insurance rules, their PIP coverage will most likely pay for their injuries regardless of fault.
However, if an accident occurs in a “fault” state, such as Georgia, things can become increasingly more complicated and legally complex. An initial determination will have to be made regarding fault before a victim may seek compensation for their injuries. Next, if the other driver is at fault, a victim will have to file a claim against their insurance company to recover damages instead of your PIP coverage.