If you were injured due to another driver’s negligence in another state, a personal injury lawsuit is filed in the state in which the accident happened or in which the defendant resides. Jurisdiction in these cases can become complicated; for instance, where should the plaintiff file a lawsuit if the accident took place in Pennsylvania, but the at-fault driver lives in Delaware? In cases such as these, the plaintiff’s attorney will advise them on the best venue for filing their lawsuit.
Do not try to handle an out-of-state car accident claim on your own. Depending on the state, you could end up with little recourse for compensation without the advice of legal counsel. The car accident lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
Drivers cross state lines frequently, so insurance company regulations do not vary much per state. Reporting an accident to your insurance company is much the same no matter what state you are in. However, the question of whether or not your insurance will cover out-of-state towing and repairs depends on your policy.
What does happen are changes in mandatory liability insurance minimums. If the other party in your collision is carrying only the minimum amount of insurance required, but your damages exceeded that amount, you would have to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the remaining compensation.
While you have the option to file a lawsuit in either the state where the accident took place or where the defendant lives, the situation can get more complex depending on the individual case. If you are involved in a multiple car crash and the drivers all live in different states, potential jurisdiction expands.
Different states assess negligence in different ways. For instance, Alabama has a pure contributory negligence statute. Anyone who is just 1 percent at fault for an accident cannot recover damages. In New York, it is quite different. The Empire State has a pure comparative fault statute. The plaintiff may receive damages reduced by their percentage of fault. If a jury decides, for example, that a plaintiff is 20 percent at fault for the accident and the defendant 80 percent liable, a $100,000 settlement is reduced to $80,000 for the plaintiff.
The time in which you have to file a personal injury lawsuit varies widely according to the state. A person injured in a motor vehicle crash in Louisiana has just one year from the date of the accident in which to file a personal injury lawsuit. That is the least amount of time in the nation. Should the accident take place in Nebraska, the plaintiff has four years from the accident date in which to file suit. Missing the deadline for a state’s statute of limitations means the court will not allow the case to go forward.
What to Do After an Out of State Accident
As with any car accident, call the police right away. Seek medical attention even if you do not think you were injured badly. Exchange names, addresses, contact information, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information with the other driver. Obtain contact information of all eyewitnesses.
Take photos of the accident scene. Include pictures of the vehicles, road conditions, injuries, license plate numbers, and anything relevant to the collision.
Do not admit fault. While you must report the accident to your insurance company promptly, do not give them a statement until speaking with an attorney.
Contact a Rockland County (NY) and Bergen County (NJ) Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in an out-of-state accident, contact the car accident law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. Call, text, or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation.
We will fight for your case to be heard in the most favorable jurisdiction. Since we work on a contingency basis, you pay no fee unless we win.