You probably know about personal injury and how to file a claim in your state, but what happens when you get into a car accident in another state? Which state’s laws will apply? Will your insurance cover the damages? Or can you sue the at-fault driver?
To be honest, navigating a car accident personal injury case in another state can get tricky, but there are some general guidelines.
Below is a general checklist on what to do when involved in a car accident, regardless of what state it happened:
When involved in a car accident out-of-state, the first step is to call the police. This is in everyone’s best interest, whether you think you’re at fault or not.
No matter how minor the accident may seem, it’s vital to call the police as they can document the scene and identify liable parties, all of which may support your case later.
Although the police will do their job, collect as much evidence as you can before they arrive. If you’re not severely injured to the point of immobility, take photos and videos of your injuries and the wreck, and write down the names of witnesses and their testimonies if possible. The more evidence you acquire, the easier it will be to prove your claim.
You may forget how it all happened later, so collecting evidence immediately after the car accident is crucial.
No matter how minor your injuries may seem, get treatment immediately. Refusal to do so may dent your case, as the defendant or insurance company may accuse you of trying to make your injury look worse. Aside from that, getting medical attention will help identify or prevent any serious harm.
Seek prompt medical attention for severe injuries, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, neck or back pain, headaches, dizziness, abdominal pain, numbness, tingling, delayed symptoms, or emotional distress. Even if symptoms aren’t immediate, obtain a medical evaluation for early detection and proper treatment. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
It’s always a great idea to exchange information with the other driver when you’re in a car accident out of state. Get their name, license, insurance information, and any other information you believe would be relevant to the situation. It’s best to give them yours as well.
When talking to the other driver, you may be tempted to apologize for not looking properly or overspeeding, but don’t. It is an admission of guilt and will wreck your potential case and settlement. And note that the driver may look for ways to make you admit guilt, so it may be better not to talk extensively about how the accident happened.
No fault doctors specialize in providing comprehensive care for car accident injuries without establishing fault. They focus on whiplash, soft tissue injuries, fractures, and concussions, employing treatments like physical therapy and chiropractic care. Collaborating with specialists ensures a multidisciplinary approach to recovery. No-fault insurance allows individuals to seek timely medical treatment without proving fault, streamlining the process. These doctors also play a role in documenting injuries for insurance claims, combining medical and legal expertise to contribute to the well-being of those affected by car accidents.
Be aware that the processes involved in a car accident case out of state may differ from what you’re familiar with back home. Much legal knowledge is needed when holding a resident accountable for your injuries.
So, whether or not the no-fault law applies in the state, it’s best to contact a car accident law firm. As the situation warrants, they may help you file your claim with your insurance company or otherwise start a personal injury case if you sustained serious injury.
The aim is to ensure you receive the maximum compensation commensurate to your injuries and losses.
Research the car accident lawyer’s reputation through online reviews, testimonials, or referrals. Verify their credentials, including education, licensing, and certifications. Also, confirm state licensing and inquire about any disciplinary actions. Ensure effective communication and regular updates about your case. Utilize a free initial consultation to discuss your case and assess your comfort level when speaking with the car accident attorney. Understand the lawyer’s fee structure, whether contingency-based, hourly, or a flat fee, and clarify additional costs.
The laws of the state where the automobile accident occurred will always apply. Your own state laws won’t apply here. And that’s why it’s crucial to be mindful of the laws (including traffic rules) of the state you’re driving in, as they will define how you file your claim.
Also, remember that the statute of limitations varies from state to state. In California, the statute of limitations for car accident cases is two years from the date of the injury. In New York, it is three years. So if you’re a New Yorker injured in a car accident in California, you would have to file your claim within two years or lose out on your deserved settlement.
And this is just another reason why working with a lawyer is crucial. You’re dealing with laws that may differ from what you’re used to, and it becomes easy to make mistakes when you go it alone.
There are 12 states in the US where the no-fault law applies. That is, regardless of who was at fault for the car accident, each injured party gets settled by their own insurance provider. So nobody gets to sue anyone. The aim is to protect all parties involved and prevent unnecessary lengthy court cases.
These 12 no-fault states are:
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
If you have an accident in any of these states, you can’t sue for settlement even though the driver was at fault.
However, retrieving compensation from your insurance provider may get more complicated than it may seem at first. Of course, insurance companies are for-profit businesses and would want to minimize their expenses.
Whether your car accident occurred in a no-fault state or not, you deserve as much compensation as you deserve for your injuries. From experience, you stand a better chance of getting full compensation when you work with a lawyer.