Car accidents are scary no matter what, but they can be even more stressful when they happen outside of the state where you live. In addition to navigating physical injuries and mental stress, you have to deal with differences in insurance policies and how they pay out for accidents.
If you decide to pursue compensation against a negligent driver who caused the accident, the other state’s at-fault or no-fault regulations may change how you approach your case and the damages you can receive. The lawyers at Great West Injury Law can help you navigate the complexities and get the settlement you deserve, no matter where your accident occurred.
What Does Insurance Cover in an Out-of-State Auto Accident?
If you carry a valid car insurance policy, you should have coverage anywhere you drive in the United States. Your policy should cover you if you’re involved in an accident on vacation, on an interstate road trip, or driving through another state for school or work.
In Utah, a valid policy must meet the following minimum requirements:
- $15,000 minimum for property damage
- $25,000 minimum to cover bodily injury to one person
- $65,000 minimum to cover bodily injury for one accident
- $80,000 minimum for death or bodily injury for more than one person and property damage
In addition, you must carry personal protection insurance (PIP) in Utah with a minimum of $3,000 to cover medical costs arising from an accident.
As long as you carry these minimum requirements as a Utah citizen, your policy should cover your out-of-state accident. Your policy will pay for differences in coverage needs based on the other state’s requirements. Insurance companies build clauses into their policies that allow for this coverage benefit.
What Happens If You Get into an Accident in an At-Fault State?
Utah is a no-fault state. Under the no-fault rule, your PIP and auto insurance cover any injuries you incur from an accident, no matter who is at fault. The exception to this standard is if you suffer injuries that meet a serious injury threshold, such as permanent disfigurement or disability.
If your out-of-state accident happens in another no-fault state, your PIP insurance will cover your injuries unless you meet the serious injury threshold. In that case, you can sue for damages to cover your medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
You can seek compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance policy if you get in an accident in an at-fault state. If the company refuses to pay you a fair settlement, you can work with an auto accident attorney to seek compensatory damages in a lawsuit.
In Which State Do You File an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit?
Where you file your case depends on how you approach seeking compensation. If you plan to file a claim with insurance, you have two options: your own or the negligent driver’s policy.
You can file with your PIP insurance if your accident happens in a no-fault state. If it’s in an at-fault state, you can file a claim with the other driver’s policy, which could be in the state where the accident occurred or where that driver lives.
If you plan to file a lawsuit to seek damages, you’ll likely have to file in the state where the accident occurred. You may be able to file in the state where the other driver lives if the laws are more favorable for determining liability. In most cases, the laws of the state where you have the accident apply and affect how compensation is determined and how much you can receive.
For example, Utah uses modified comparative negligence, which states that you can’t receive compensation if you are more than 50% responsible for your injuries. Other states, like California, use pure comparative fault. This doctrine awards damages based on the percentage of fault, no matter if you are found to be 1% or 99% at fault.
Choosing an Attorney for an Out-of-State Collision
When choosing an attorney for your out-of-state accident, consider their expertise and proximity to the state where it occurred. Typically, it’s best to hire a lawyer in the state where the accident happened because they will be familiar with that state’s car accident and insurance laws.
You may hire a lawyer from your home state if it neighbors the one where you had your accident and has similar laws regarding auto accidents, damage awards, liability, and insurance coverage.
Work With a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney
Getting into an accident out-of-state is stressful and means you have to navigate issues with insurance and liability that don’t apply to accidents in your home state. The Utah personal injury lawyers at Great West Injury Law can guide you through this complex process and help you obtain a fair settlement for your injuries.
Our firm skillfully represents clients involved in collisions in neighboring states. We’ll help you maximize damages and address any out-of-state issues that arise.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation so you can put your accident behind you and move forward with your life.