What Happens When You Get into an Accident in Another State?

Car accidents are scary enough when they happen in your hometown. But what happens when you’re hurt in a crash while driving out of state? Perhaps you’re visiting relatives for the holidays or taking the kids on a much-anticipated summer road trip. One minute you’re happily cruising along the highway, and the next minute your vehicle is badly damaged, after being rear-ended by a distracted driver. Your neck is stiff, and your car needs serious repair work. What happens next?

Accidents that happen out-of-state

A lot will hinge on the type of auto insurance coverage you have purchased. Most policies are designed to provide coverage in all U.S. states and territories, so you should not run into difficulties when pursuing an out-of-state insurance claim, even if bodily injuries were sustained. That said, there is ample red tape when handling any car insurance claim, and plenty of mistakes that can be made.

Minor crashes that don’t involve injuries are usually more straightforward. An adjuster will be assigned to the case, and a settlement check will be provided by the at-fault party’s provider. If, however, you or your passengers suffered major injuries that are racking up significant medical bills, it is prudent to hire a reputable attorney to handle your claim.

Let’s say you live in Brooklyn, but the accident happened in New Jersey or Connecticut. The best course of action is to retain a local firm that has a successful history litigating vehicle accident claims– both in-state and out-of-state. Many personal injury attorneys in New York are licensed to practice in neighboring states.

Generally speaking, if litigation is necessary, it is recommended to take legal action in the state where the defendant legally resides for jurisdiction purposes. The lawsuit will be subject to the state’s statute of limitations and procedural laws, and for these reasons, you’ll want an experienced New York car accident lawyer on your side. Ideally, your legal counsel will be well-versed in the nuances of the other state’s personal injury lawyers, allowing them to navigate the litigation process with ease and efficiency.

Why insurance coverage matters

Every state has different laws regarding auto insurance coverage minimums. For those who live in New York, this minimum policy includes $25,000 for each person hurt in the crash, a maximum of $50,000 for all injuries in the accident, and $10,000 to cover property damage for a single accident. 

As anyone who has suffered injury in a vehicle wreck knows, this minimum liability coverage is rarely sufficient to cover the expenditures of a serious crash. If you are hit and injured by a driver who has insufficient coverage while traveling in a different state, your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage will bridge the gap to compensate you for your losses. All New York vehicle drivers are required to carry this coverage for $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.

If your liability insurance coverage in New York is the bare minimum, and you’re in a wreck in another state that has higher minimum coverages (such as Maine), your policy should automatically meet that state’s liability requirements.

Safeguard your rights after an accident

No matter where your accident takes place, always take these steps to protect your rights.

  • Call 911 and report the crash
  • Seek medical attention
  • Get a copy of the police report
  • Document the accident scene with photos and video
  • Call your insurance provider
  • Contact a car accident lawyer

Trust your claim to Douglas and London

At the New York personal injury law firm of Douglas & London, our legal team has helped injured motorists secure millions in compensation for their lost wages, medical expenses, emotional suffering, and diminished quality of life.

The initial consultation is free of charge, and we only get paid if we win or settle your claim. When you need sound legal support and a powerful advocate, our team of car accident lawyers is here to fight for your rights.