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What Happens if a NY resident Gets into an Out-of-State Car Accident?

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

A car accident is a stressful situation, especially if a serious injury is involved, and this stress is compounded if the accident occurred out of state. Being involved in an auto accident away from home will leave you with many questions like what your insurance covers and how you can file a lawsuit to recoup damages caused by the crash.

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    If you have been involved in a car accident in another state, do not hesitate to reach out to a knowledgeable out-of-state accident lawyer. The Attorneys at Moshes Law, PC, can assist you with your out-of-state car accident. Contact one of our qualified personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

    What’s an Out-of-State Car Accident?

    An out-of-state car accident is an auto accident that occurs when you are out of your home state. If you live in New York state but are involved in a car accident in New Jersey, you have been in an out-of-state accident.

    Out-of-state car accidents can be especially stressful because you may not be familiar with the state where the accident occurred. Each state has different laws that regulate car accidents. Some states are called “at fault” states, while others are considered “no fault states.” This will affect how insurance companies cover the accident. In addition, states may have different statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim.

    If you are involved in an out-of-town car accident, two crucial questions that need to be answered are:

    1. Where should you file a personal injury claim?
    2. Where should you file an insurance claim?

    Answering these questions can be tricky, so it is best to contact an out-of-state accident lawyer to assist you with your personal injury and insurance claims.

    Where Do New Yorkers File a Lawsuit After an Out-of-State Car Accident?

    If you are involved in a car accident in another state, the general rule is that you can file a lawsuit either:

    • The state in which the defendant resides, or
    • The state in which the accident occurred

    Consider the following example:

    Karen resides in New York state. She is visiting Florida on vacation when she is hit by Mike, who ran a red light. Mike is also visiting Florida, but he resides in Ohio.

    car accident in another state

    Karen has two options. She can sue Mike in:

    • Ohio because that is where he resides, or
    • Florida because that is where the accident occurred

    Even though it may seem inconvenient, the law does not allow a Plaintiff to file a lawsuit in their home state if the accident didn’t occur there and the defendant is not from there. In the above example, Karen cannot sue Mike in her home state of New York unless Mike consents to be sued in New York. Kelly must choose between Florida and Ohio.

    What If Business Is Involved?

    Sometimes, a car accident in another state may involve a business. This can happen if you’re injured by a truck driver or a business employee driving a company vehicle. When deciding where to file a lawsuit, the same rules apply. You can sue a business in the state where the accident occurred or the state where the company resides.

    This raises the question, “where does a business reside?”. Finding out where a business resides can be tricky and depends on the type of business.

    1. A Corporation is considered a citizen in the state where the business was incorporated or where the principal place of business, like a corporate office, is located.
    2. An LLC or other unincorporated entity has citizenship in any state in which one of the members or owners of the business is a citizen.

    In addition, you may be able to sue a company in any state where the company has “minimum contacts.” Minimum contact is proven by showing that the company does a significant amount of business or advertising in a given state.

    Which State’s Laws Will Apply?

    Once you decide where to file your personal injury claim, you will have to determine which state laws will apply to your claim. State laws governing auto accidents often involve regulations about:

    • Fault
    • Negligence
    • Statute of limitations

    It is essential to know the local state laws because they could significantly affect your case.

    For example, in New York, all drivers must carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage on their insurance policy. If you are from New York and are involved in a car accident in Florida, Statutory Uninsured Motorist Coverage will not cover you for injuries or death. However, Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage will cover you in Florida if the other driver was negligent.

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      The best way to find out the laws of the state where you filed your claim and how those laws will affect your case is to contact a knowledgeable out-of-state accident lawyer familiar with the local laws.

      What If The State Isn’t “No-Fault”?

      A state’s fault laws will affect how insurance companies handle car accidents. States can either be a “no-fault” state or an “at-fault” state.

      Your personal injury protection (PIP) will cover your medical bills regardless of who caused the accident in a no-fault state. Only 12 states are no-fault states and include:

      • Florida
      • Hawaii
      • Kansas
      • Kentucky
      • Massachusetts
      • Michigan
      • Minnesota
      • New Jersey
      • New York
      • North Dakota
      • Pennsylvania
      • Utah

      The driver who caused the accident will be responsible for the other driver’s accident-related damages in an at-fault state or a tort-state. Injured drivers can seek compensation from the at-fault driver through an insurance claim or a lawsuit.

      How is Fault Determined in an At-Fault State?

      If you are involved in a car accident in a state that assigns fault, it is important to know how fault will be determined. Sometimes, like in the case of a rear-end collision, determining fault is simple. In more complicated accidents, two ways that are often used to determine fault in an at-fault state are through police reports and state laws.

      out of town car accident

      Police Reports You should always call the police to the scene of an accident, even if there are no major injuries. A police officer will create an official report of the accident with an objective analysis of the situation. They will also provide their opinion about who was at fault for the auto accident and whether drugs or alcohol were involved.

      State Laws – Different state laws may help determine who was at fault during an auto accident. Laws about right of way, cyclist responsibilities, and speed limits can all play a role in determining fault in an at-fault state.

      How Your Policy Will Apply?

      No matter how far from home you might be, if you have an active auto insurance policy, you will most likely be covered in the event of an auto accident. Most insurance companies will protect their customers in all 50 states and US territories.

      Different states may have different requirements for minimum insurance limits. If you get into a car accident outside of your home state, most insurance policy coverage limits will adjust to meet the limits required in the state where the accident occurred. This allows you to rest assured that your policy will always meet the minimum coverage requirements of whatever state you may visit.

      What Should You Do In An Out-Of-State Accident?

      If you are involved in an out-of-state auto accident, there are a few steps that you should always take to ensure you and your passenger’s safety and ensure that you have the correct documentation for an insurance claim or personal injury claim.

      1. Check for injuries- The first step is to check yourself and your passengers for any serious injuries. If possible, exit the vehicle and move to a safe location away from traffic. It is common for other drivers to drive unsafely around car accidents because they are distracted and rubbernecking.
      1. Call emergency service- Even if you don’t think your injuries are severe, you should always call the police and emergency services. Police are required for a police report which may be helpful to prove fault or used in an insurance claim. Always allow a medical professional to evaluate you and your passengers. Even if you don’t feel hurt, some injuries are masked by adrenaline or take time for symptoms to present.
      1. Document the damage- If possible, take pictures and document the damage. You should take photos of how your car is positioned in the road, relevant landmarks, body damage, and anything else that may be helpful. You may also want to take a couple of notes about the weather conditions or the area the accident occurred. These details could be important for a settlement later down the line.
      1. Exchange insurance information- If both parties are able, you should exchange insurance information at the scene of the accident.
      1. Call your insurance company- You should reach out to your insurance company as soon as possible to notify them that an accident has occurred.
      1. Contact an Out-of-State Accident Lawyer- If you are involved in a car accident in another state, you will want to contact a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in the state where the accident occurred as soon as possible. An out-of-state accident lawyer will know what steps you need to take to ensure you are covered and fairly compensated for crash-related damages.

      Have questions? Get Personal Injury Attorney Free Consultation. 

      If you have been involved in an out-of-town car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in New York City to assist you with your case. You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and damages sustained in a crash, and only a lawyer knowledgeable in local state laws will be able to help.

      The Attorneys at Moshes Law, PC, take a personal approach by working to understand your unique situation and your needs. Contact one of our qualified personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss your out-of-state car accident case.

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