What If Your Car Accident Is Out-of-State?

A car accident while traveling out of state can mean an even more difficult insurance process than usual. The laws in the state where the accident took place can affect your rights and recovery options. The state’s liability laws may make it hard to understand who is responsible for your losses. You may need assistance handling an out-of-state insurance claim from a San Antonio car accident lawyer.

Which State Laws Apply?

The car accident laws presiding over a case will depend on the state where the accident occurred. As a driver, it will not matter where you normally reside or what state is on your driver’s license. The laws that pertain to your car accident case will be those in the state where the collision took place.

For example, Texas is a fault-based insurance state. If you get into a crash in Texas, the fault law states that the person or party responsible for causing a crash will have to pay damages. If you traveled to Florida, however, and got into a car accident, a different fault law would apply. Florida uses a no-fault insurance law, in which all injured parties seek damages from their own insurance providers, regardless of fault.

It is important to understand the jurisdiction where your car accident took place, as well as the laws within that jurisdiction. These are the laws that will impact matters such as who will be liable for your injuries and where you will file an auto insurance claim. State laws can also determine important matters such as comparative fault, statutes of limitations and damage caps. The best way to fully understand the laws in the state where your crash took place is with help from a car accident attorney.

Where Would You File an Insurance Claim?

No matter where you get into a car accident, your car insurance company will cover your damages. The process for filing an out-of-state car accident claim will essentially be the same as if you got into an accident in Texas. First, you will contact your insurance company to file a report. Your insurance company can provide benefits to help you pay for medical bills and property repairs. Then, your insurer will investigate the crash. If the company discovers another party is to blame for the accident, the insurer can seek reimbursement for what it paid on your claim from the at-fault party.

Where Would You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Most car accident claims resolve with insurance settlements. If, however, an insurance company is denying fault or refusing to offer a fair settlement amount, you may need to take the case to trial instead. In this scenario, you will have two choices: filing in the state where the other driver resides or filing in the state where the accident occurred. The law will not allow you to file in the state where you live unless the other driver agrees to this change.

Filing a lawsuit in any state takes filling out the appropriate legal paperwork and submitting it to the civil courthouse in the correct county. You must do this before the statute of limitations (deadline) in the state where you are filing. If you are filing in Texas, for example, the statute of limitations gives you no more than two years from the date of your collision to bring a lawsuit. A lawyer can help you understand the deadline for your particular claim.

Do You Need an Attorney?

Filing a car accident claim in another state often requires assistance from an attorney. A lawyer with knowledge, experience and a license to practice law in the state where you will be filing your claim can help you understand your rights.

A lawyer can collect evidence of another driver’s fault to present to an insurance company, judge or jury on your behalf. Hiring a lawyer can also improve your chances of avoiding a trial, as your lawyer can help you negotiate a successful settlement with an insurance company. Overall, a lawyer can protect your rights no matter where your car accident occurred. For more information about what to do after an out of state car accident, contact a lawyer.

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