What to Do If you are Injured in a Car Accident in Another State
Traffic and personal injury laws vary from state to state. If you were involved in a car accident outside of your home state, you may be wondering how you can recover damages. What if the state you had the accident in has very different accident laws than your home state? Read on to find out the best way to ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
What Do I Do if I am Injured in a Car Accident in Another State?
Any time someone is injured in an accident that has the potential for a complicated accident claim, a personal injury lawyer should be consulted. If you were injured in an out-of-state accident, the best thing to do is contact a car accident attorney in that state for a free consultation. The reason for this is because, in most cases, your accident claim will need to follow the laws in the state you were injured. If your accident claim does need to be filed in your home state, the accident attorney can let you know during the consultation. In addition, the injury lawyer can discuss your legal rights, provide information about the value of your case, and explain how they can help you to get the settlement you deserve.
Most personal injury lawyers are compensated on a contingency fee basis, which means that you have no up-front costs and do not pay unless you receive a settlement. Make sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible because every state has a statute of limitations on injury claims, which means there is a limited window to file a claim.
Factors that determine which state laws need to be followed
There are several factors that your injury attorney will look at to help determine which state laws will need to be followed for your accident claim, including:
- Who is the at-fault driver?
- Where did the accident happen?
- Where was the case filed?
- Was the case filed in a state or federal court?
Accident laws vary from state to state
Laws to determine fault:
Washington is a “comparative negligence” or “comparative fault” state, which means that fault can be shared in a personal injury case. Damages are awarded based on contributory fault law, which says that you may only be awarded damages proportionate to the percentage of fault contributed by the defendant and nothing for the amount of fault that you contributed.
Other states are considered “no-fault”. In a no-fault state, every driver needs to file a claim with their own insurance company after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. About a dozen states use this law.
Caps on personal injury damages:
Washington has no cap on personal injury damages, which mean that injury settlements are not limited by an arbitrary cap. There are currently 11 states that impose limits on non-economic damages.
Will my car insurance cover my accident if it happened in another state?
Generally, yes, your car insurance policy will cover you for accidents that happen while you were on a trip to another state. Having said that, you will still be stuck trying to match your out-of-state coverage with that state’s accident and traffic laws. It becomes trickier if you have moved to another state and not updated your car insurance. It is important to update your car insurance to the state you are now living in as quickly as possible after moving.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!