If you get into a car accident in another state, your automobile insurance policy will pay for your covered losses and any damages for which you are responsible. If someone else caused your crash, you can seek compensation for your injuries and related expenses with a liability insurance claim or personal injury in Pittsburg lawsuit. Jurisdiction for your case belongs to the state where the collision occurred or where the at-fault driver resides.
Read on to learn more about what happens if you get in a car accident in another state.
Your Car Insurance Applies to Accidents in Other States
In most circumstances, your car insurance coverage follows you across state lines. Therefore, if you get into a car accident in another state, your liability coverage will pay for any bodily injuries or property damage you cause. If you have additional policies, such as collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) protection, or med pay, they also apply to covered losses occurring during out-of-state wrecks.
If another driver is at-fault for your crash, their insurance pays, regardless of whether they live in the state where the accident happened. Like you, their coverage follows them. However, when seeking damages, you will need to adhere to the laws of the state where the accident occurred.
Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Requirements
Pennsylvania’s car insurance requirements differ from most other states. Under Pennsylvania’s “choice” no-fault system, all motorists must carry a minimum of $5,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for their medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement services, no matter who caused the collision.
Drivers must also have a minimum of $15,000/$30,000 in bodily injury liability per person/per accident and $5,000 in property damage liability to pay for the losses they cause.
If you choose limited tort coverage, your premiums are likely cheaper, but your right to sue an at-fault driver for non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering) is restricted. If you choose full tort coverage, you have the unrestricted right to seek compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
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You Must File Your Car Accident Lawsuit in the State Where the Crash Occurred
If you must file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages from a liable party, you usually do so in the state where the accident took place. If both drivers are from out of state, you will pursue your lawsuit in the state where the at-fault motorist resides.
If your collision involved a large truck or another commercial vehicle that travels interstate, you could file suit in the state where the crash occurred or where the driver’s employer is based.
How Long do You Have to Pursue a Case in Pennsylvania?
If your car wreck happened in Pennsylvania, Pa. C.S.A. § 5524 allows two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If your loved one suffered a fatal injury, the statute of limitations allows two years from their accident to seek survival damages and two years from their time of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If your car accident happened outside of Pennsylvania, you are subject to that state’s statute of limitations. Depending on the laws where your crash occurred, you may have anywhere from one to six years.
Statutes of limitations will also affect your insurance claims. Letting the deadlines expire will remove the threat of legal action, reducing your bargaining power. You could get left with a lowball settlement or denied claim and no chance to recover additional compensation in court. Therefore, getting started on your case right away is a good idea.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Recoverable personal injury damages can vary from state to state. For example, as already discussed, there are limitations on the types of damages you can recover in Pennsylvania based on your auto insurance. Other states may cap non-economic compensation or put their own restrictions on when you can seek pain and suffering damages.
While your case’s specifics may be different, in general, you can pursue the following losses after a motor vehicle accident:
- Medical expenses. You can seek all current and future medical costs resulting from the crash, including emergency transportation and treatment, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and long-term nursing services.
- Lost income. You can seek income, benefits, and earnings lost due to your car accident injuries and recovery. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work or force you to limit your hours or change careers, you can seek compensation for your lost earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. These losses, known as non-economic compensation, award injured parties for the intangible losses their injuries caused. You can seek non-economic damages, such as mobility loss, chronic or severe pain, permanent and disabling injuries, mental anguish, emotional distress, inconvenience, and impaired quality of life.
- Miscellaneous losses. An attorney can pursue awards to pay for your household services (such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare), rental car fees, medically necessary home and vehicle modifications, and medical travel expenses.
- Wrongful death. Each state has its laws regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, who can collect compensation, and the damages available. In Pennsylvania, the deceased’s personal representative must take legal action on behalf of the estate and qualifying survivors. Compensation for a loved one’s fatal injury may include medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and loss of the deceased’s income, support, and services.
Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer to Handle Your Out-of-State Collision Case?
If you get into a car accident in another state and decide to hire an attorney, you will need a lawyer from the state with accident jurisdiction. If your crash happened in Pennsylvania, a personal injury lawyer with our firm can navigate your insurance claims or work through the state’s legal system.
There is no legal requirement to retain counsel, but our team has over 40 years of case experience we can put to work getting the awards you need and deserve. We will manage every detail of your case so that you can focus on your health and your family.
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Contact Berger and Green About an Out-of-State Car Accident Today
Contact Berger and Green today for a free car accident case consultation. We can help you get started on your case for nothing up front or out of pocket. We work on contingency, so we recover payment only if you win your case. If you don’t, you will owe us nothing. Call us today to get started.