What Happens If I Get Into a Car Accident With an Out of State Driver?
New York insurance laws are designed to protect motorists who are injured in a car accident. These laws include no-fault provisions and minimum coverage limits. The insurance policies of out-of-state drivers do not always include the same terms. This potentially causes problems when you need to pursue compensation under their policies. It would be wise to contact a firm with experienced New York City car accident lawyers to help approach this potentially thorny problem.
To know whether the out-of-state driver’s policy will complicate your claim, there a couple of questions to ask:
- Was your injury severe or minor?
- Was the out-of-state insurance company registered to do business in New York?
In a nutshell, in many cases, you can proceed as if the other driver had a New York-issued insurance policy. In other cases, you may need to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim– or take a different route to recovery.
Did you suffer a serious injury?
New York’s no-fault laws provide that if you suffer a non-serious injury in a car accident, fault does not matter. You are required to submit your claim to your own insurance company, which will pay your expenses up to the policy limit.
The other driver’s insurance situation will only be a factor if your injuries are deemed “serious.” This would allow you to forego the no-fault system and instead pursue a direct claim against the other driver. The claim would include both financial losses like medical bills and lost income, and well as non-economic losses like pain and suffering. State laws determine the types of injuries that qualify as serious.
Was the out-of-state insurance company registered to do business in New York?
Further, if your injury qualifies as “serious,” and another driver was at fault for the accident, then that driver may be liable for your damages. This is where the other party’s insurance comes into play.
If the out-of-state’s insurance carrier is authorized in New York, the policy must include coverage that meets our state’s minimums. That means that even if the other driver is from a fault-based state with lower minimum coverage requirements, their policy will adhere to New York regulations.
How to file a no-fault claim when the accident involves an out-of-state driver
If your accident did not result in a serious injury, defined by New York law, you simply need to file a no-fault claim under your own policy. The insurance carrier will want information about the accident and evidence of your medical treatment before making a settlement offer.
It is a good idea to speak with a personal injury lawyer before settling any claim. Your attorney will look for any indication that you could meet the serious injury threshold and also look out for your rights as you enter a binding settlement agreement.
Pursuing a claim of serious injury against an out-of-state driver
If your injury is deemed serious– or you incurred more than $50,000 in economic damages, you may file a lawsuit against the other party.
The other party’s insurance coverage does not determine whether they are legally responsible for your losses, but it does determine how likely you are to collect damages. For example, if the at-fault driver is uninsured and has no collectible assets, you may need to pursue an uninsured motorist claim under your own policy to receive compensation.
Speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss the route you need to take to collect against the negligent driver. They can also determine the following: which court has jurisdiction, the filing deadlines that apply, whether there are any other potentially liable parties you should include, and other essential factors.
Contact Douglas and London today
An out-of-state driver is just one of many factors that can unexpectedly complicate your car accident claim. Get expert advice from someone who has seen this and many other situations before.
Call Douglas & London today– to speak with our New York City personal injury lawyers about your rights and responsibilities. We proudly serve New Yorkers and offer free, confidential consultations to help you decide before making a commitment.