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What Happens If I Get in an Accident Out-of-State?

Vignette of woman rubbing her neck after a car accident

When you’re involved in an accident out of your home state, your coverage will adjust to satisfy the requirements of the state where your accident occurred. It doesn’t matter where in the United States you are at the time of an accident–if you are an insured driver in your state of residence, you’re an insured driver anywhere in the country.

Jurisdiction in Out-of-State Accidents Can Be Complicated

Man with sunglasses driving on a sunny day

If you’ve been in an accident outside of your home state, your first question might be: how does jurisdiction work in this type of situation? Unfortunately, jurisdiction in out-of-state accidents can be complicated, and it’s often difficult to determine which state’s laws apply.

In simple terms: you have to bring suit in a court that has the authority to hear your case. Though there are exceptions, most out-of-state accident suits will be filed in the state where the accident happened. For example, if you, a Florida resident, get into an accident in North Carolina and the other drivers involved are also not from North Carolina, you may still end up in North Carolina court. 

You’ll Need a Lawyer Licensed in the Relevant State

A gavel laying on top of a legal book in front of scales

Attorneys are permitted to practice law on a state-by-state basis. Typically, you will need a lawyer licensed in the state where the accident happened to represent you. In some circumstances, attorneys are licensed to practice in multiple states. If your accident occurred in Georgia, you might be able to find a lawyer licensed in both Florida and Georgia. If you were hit by another vehicle while on a cross-country road trip, however, it will be less likely to find someone licensed in both that state and your home state.

Occasionally, an attorney in your home state could be admitted pro hac vice (legalese that translates to “for this occasion only”) to take on your case. Usually, this still requires your attorney to work with another attorney who is a member of the bar in that state.

Let’s return to that North Carolina accident example: if you live in Florida and are injured in a car accident in North Carolina, you may be able to have your Florida car accident attorney represent you, but they will need a North Carolina attorney to work with them as co-counsel in order to do so.

I Was in an Accident Out-of-State. Now What?

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The basic steps you need to take following a car accident don’t change whether the accident occurred two miles or two thousand miles from home. After an accident, you must:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately, if necessary.
  2. Call the police to investigate the accident.
  3. Gather any evidence you can from the scene of the accident, including photos, witness statements, and anything else that may be relevant.
  4. Video record or take a voice note of yourself relaying your account of the accident.
  5. Contact your insurance company to let them know about the accident and start the claims process. (Note: Contact an attorney before giving a recorded statement to your insurance company.)
  6. Keep track of all your expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.
  7. Call the attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo for guidance.

Financially and mentally recovering from a car accident is never easy. Kogan & DiSalvo helps you move forward with the agile and aggressive representation you need to win your case. If you were involved in a car accident in the state of Florida, call us today for a free consultation.

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