What Happens if I Get Into an Out-of-State Car Accident?
Bill Allen | August 8, 2023 | Car Accidents
Drivers enjoy the freedom of driving across state lines. Unfortunately, motorists may get into accidents when driving out of state. Any car accident is nerve-wracking, but those that occur far from home may be especially scary.
Drivers often have dozens of questions after an out-of-state accident. Navigating an out-of-state car accident can prove to be a complicated affair. Allen Law Firm’s car accident attorneys can help you understand your rights after an accident in Gainesville, Florida.
Does My Insurance Cover Me?
Many drivers wonder whether their automobile insurance applies out of state. Fortunately, you are most likely covered by your current insurance policy in other states or U.S. territories. Your policy may even automatically adjust to meet the minimum insurance requirements of the state where your accident occurred.
As your policy likely covers you, you should plan to report the accident to your insurance carrier. Most insurers have requirements for prompt reporting. Delays may complicate the claims process. A car accident lawyer can help you report your claim and recover any damages you may be entitled to. Make sure to gather important information after your accident and document that scene with photographs.
What State Traffic and Liability Laws Apply?
Each state has unique traffic laws. Out-of-state drivers are expected to comply with the laws of the state where they are driving. If an accident is your fault, you could face penalties under the laws of that state. This may include fines or even jail time, depending on the accident’s severity and other factors.
State law also affects how liability and damages are determined in an accident. Some states follow an at-fault system, where the person responsible for the accident is liable for damages. Other states, such as Florida, follow a no-fault system. This means that if a driver is injured in a car collision, their insurance pays for injuries even if the accident is someone else’s fault.
Where Do I Pursue or Defend Legal Proceedings?
Legal proceedings may follow your accident. The proper place for pursuing or defending legal claims is typically the state where the accident occurred. You may have to travel back to that state for court appearances, which can be time-consuming and costly. You may also have to hire a local attorney familiar with the state’s laws and accident claims process, which can differ from your home state.
For example, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit or claim can vary. Florida has a two-year statute of limitations for car accidents that cause personal injury, while nearby South Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations.
How Should I Handle an Out-of-State Accident?
The first thing you should do is call the police and have them investigate your accident. An accident report is a critical written account of the accident. At the scene, you should be meticulous about gathering information, but only if you can do so safely. Be sure to record the names of first responders, the insurance information for the other driver(s), and the contact information for witnesses. You should also take photographs of the involved vehicles and any damage.
If you think you have been injured, seek prompt medical attention. You can get treatment in the state where the accident occurred. You can visit your doctor when you return to your home state for follow-up care.
Consult a Car Accident Lawyer in Gainesville, FL
Out-of-state car accidents can present unique challenges. Traffic and liability laws often vary with those in your home state. Consult an experienced car accident lawyer to manage these challenges and understand your rights. Should you find yourself in a car accident in Gainesville, Florida, the car accident attorneys at Allen Law Firm, P.A. can guide you through the aftermath.
Contact Our Gainesville Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
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