After being in a car accident that was not your fault, you will have a lot to deal with. Matters will only get more complicated and frustrating if you also need to deal with liability and insurance laws in states other than your own. Yet this is exactly the situation many drivers find themselves in after being hit by an out-of-state driver.
Interstate Insurance Policies
The average motorist purchases auto insurance from a nationwide company. Names like Geico, All-State, Farmers, and others are all big players in the industry. On the surface, it might not seem important that big auto insurance companies are so popular, but it is actually a crucial element in an out-of-state driver car accident case.
Nationwide insurance companies that sell policies in every state must cover their policyholders in every state. If you were in Florida when you were hit by a driver from California who is covered by Geico, for example, then their Geico policy would still apply because that company sells its policies in both states. You can essentially file your claim as you would normally without any new roadblocks due to the driver being away from home at the time of the crash.
Minimum Insurance Requirement Differences
Minimum insurance requirements differ noticeably among states. For example, Florida requires motorists to carry a policy that provides at least $10,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $20,000 per accident, which is among the lowest minimum requirements in the country. Many other states have higher minimum policy requirements, such as Georgia’s bodily injury liability minimums are set at $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
If you get hit by an out-of-state driver who has a lower insurance minimum coverage than you, then you might be left without any coverage for many of your costs. However, you will not be out of options if you have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance as part of your policy. Your insurer can provide the leftover damages up to your UM/UIM cap if you are hit by an out-of-state underinsured driver.
Local Courts Handle Lawsuits
What might catch an out-of-state driver by surprise is that they can be summoned back to the state in which they caused a crash for legal proceedings. In Florida, Statute 48.193 – aptly called the Long-Arm Statute – requires any out-of-state visitors who enter the state to give unspoken consent to present themselves in Florida courts as required, i.e., to litigate or conclude a car accident case. Many other states have similar legal rules as well.
Returning to a state just to conclude a car accident lawsuit is not something anyone wants to do, which is why auto insurance companies often push for a settlement in out-of-state driver accident claims. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, then an out-of-state driver can usually use the services of an attorney to represent them in the civil courts of that other state.
Local Florida Legal Knowledge at Your Disposal
Were you in a car accident with an out-of-state driver in Florida, like a tourist visiting the many sights of our wonderful state? Let Todd Miner Law guide you through this confusing legal time. We are locals with an office in Orlando and decades of legal experience, so we know all about the state’s liability rules and how they apply to out-of-state car accident cases. Get more information by contacting our firm now.