Filing a Lawsuit for an Out-of-State Car Crash

green road sign on arizona state lineThe last thing you want to happen on a road trip outside of Arizona is to get into a car crash. Aside from the injuries that could result and the inconvenience of the whole situation, you may not know how to go about filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. Is the situation governed by Arizona law or the laws of the state where the accident happened?

It is important to be prepared for this kind of a situation before you travel out of state. That way you know what steps to take and how to protect the value of your claim. Too often, insurance companies and at-fault parties settle claims with victims for a lot less than they may be worth. Victims are unsure of what to do and desperate for compensation.

At Phillips Law Group, we have helped victims of a wide variety of car crashes seek compensation for their damages. We are well-versed in relevant laws and what it takes to build a strong case for compensation. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation with an auto accident attorney in Phoenix.

Am I Still Covered by My Own Auto Insurance?

You are likely still covered by your car insurance. Generally, car insurance policies apply in all 50 states, and they may even apply in some parts of Canada. That means if you are partially at fault, your liability coverage should still apply to the other driver’s damages.

If your liability coverage is for less than the minimum amount required in the state where the accident occurred, your coverage should automatically increase to the minimum amount in that state.

Can I Still File a Claim Against the Other Driver?

Most U.S. states have a fault-based system for assigning financial liability for a car accident. That means the at-fault driver is responsible for damages from the crash. Arizona takes this approach with car accident claims.

However, there are some other states that use a no-fault system. In these states, victims seek compensation from their own insurance policies first. If they exhaust coverage, they may then be able to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

This is important to explain because if you get into an accident in a no-fault state, your claim may proceed differently than it would if the crash happened in an at-fault state. Generally, your insurance policy would provide you with the minimum personal injury protection (PIP) coverage required in the state.

For example, if you were involved in a crash in Utah, your insurance policy would likely provide $3,000 in personal injury protection coverage. This is the minimum amount required in the state. PIP pays for your medical expenses after an auto accident.

Other no-fault states include:

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

Can You File a Lawsuit Over an Out-of-State Crash?

The laws of the state where the crash happened are the laws that apply to the accident. This includes the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit and laws on contributory negligence.

That means if you were involved in an accident in Utah, you would have four years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. In Arizona, the statute of limitations is just two years from the date of the accident.

Utah also has a modified comparative negligence system, which means you cannot recover any compensation if you are 50 percent or more at fault for the accident. If you are less than 50 percent at fault, your compensation award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. This is different than Arizona, where you can be more than 50 percent at fault and still recover compensation.

The general rule is you can either file a lawsuit in the state where the crash occurred, or the state where the defendant resides, even though this may be somewhere different from where the crash happened.

Steps to Take After an Out-of-State Car Crash

No matter where an accident happens, you should always call the police so a report can be filed. You may be unfamiliar with the laws in the state where the crash occurred, which is OK. However, that is why you should strongly consider talking to an experienced attorney about the situation. Unlike the insurance company, your attorney will be focused on your best interests.

Whenever possible, take pictures at the scene and write down what you remember about the accident before you forget. Ask witnesses for their contact information so your lawyer can get in touch with them at a later date.

Need Assistance After an Auto Accident? Call Phillips Law Group

There is no risk in contacting an attorney from our firm after a car crash. We do not charge any upfront fees for our services and the initial meeting with one of our lawyers is free.

It is also important to note crash victims who obtain legal representation often recover more compensation compared to those who do not. Insurance companies also tend to take claims more seriously when they are pursued by licensed attorneys.

Phillips Law Group. Millions Recovered for Our Clients. Call 602-222-2222 .