I Was Involved in a Car Accident Out-of-State…Now What?

Nobody wants to get into a car accident, particularly when they are driving out-of-state. When any car accident happens, the process of securing compensation can be confusing. For an out-of-state claim, this can be even more complex. However, if you have the minimum required insurance in your own state, then you are covered when you drive to other states in the US.

Your car insurance covers you

The most important thing to remember is that if you have car insurance in any state in the US, you are covered no matter where you drive in the country. For example, if you live in California but you get into a car accident in North Carolina, your California policy will still cover you.

This means that filing an insurance claim for an out-of-state accident is generally the same process as filing a claim for an accident that happens in your own state.

Even if the minimum insurance requirements for your state do not meet the minimum requirements of a state you get into an accident in, you are still covered legally. For example, if you purchased the minimum amount of bodily liability insurance in California, but get into an accident in a state where the requirement is $5,000 more than what you carry, most insurers will make up the $5,000 difference and cover you for the higher policy limit amount. This is referred to as a “broadening clause” in insurance policies. This policy is also used if you get into an accident in a no-fault state that requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.

What if the other person is at fault?

If another driver is at fault in an accident you get into out-of-state, you will file a claim with their insurance carrier in the same way you would in your home state. This process will work the same way, and the at-fault party’s insurance carrier will be responsible for covering your injury expenses and property damage expenses.

In the event you get into an accident in a no-fault state, your insurance carrier will provide you with personal injury protection (PIP) coverage through their “broadening clause” to help cover your medical expenses. As is the normal operation in a no-fault state, the at-fault party will be responsible for covering your property damage expenses.

What if you have to file a personal injury lawsuit?

If your medical or property damage expenses rise above the insurance minimums of the at-fault party, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover full compensation with the help of an Orange County car accident attorney. However, you will need to consider whether it makes sense to hire an attorney from your state or from the state where the accident occurred. If the car accident happened in a state adjacent to your own, you may find that a skilled car accident attorney from your state is also licensed in the state where the accident happened.

However, if the accident occurred in a state far away from your own, it may make more sense to hire an accident attorney from the state where the accident happened. This way, the attorney will be in close proximity to the courthouse and to the places that they need to be to gather evidence to prove your case.