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Out-of-State Car Accident: What You Need to Know

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Picture this: You’re cruising through unfamiliar streets, maybe on vacation, perhaps just exploring Arizona. Suddenly, a car accident disrupts your plans. What now? Whose insurance will cover out-of-state car accidents? If you got into a car accident outside Arizona, will your insurance still cover it? 

And can someone help answer all of your out-of-state car accident questions? Absolutely.

What is an Out-of-State Car Accident?

Before anything else, let us clarify what an out-of-state car accident is. An out-of-state car accident occurs when the collision happens outside the state where your vehicle is registered. The situation can be confusing, especially when different state laws and insurance rules come into play.

What Should You Do After an Out-of-State Car Crash?

  1. Prioritize Safety: Ensure everyone’s safety and seek medical help if needed. Your well-being is the top priority.
  2. Document the Scene: If it’s safe, document the accident scene, take pictures, and exchange information with the other driver(s).
  3. Notify Authorities: Contact local law enforcement to report the accident. This creates an official record of the incident.
  4. Insurance Information: Exchange insurance details with the other driver(s) involved.
  5. Witnesses: If there are witnesses, get their contact information. Their statements may prove valuable later.
  6. Contact a Local Car Crash Attorney: A local car crash lawyer will be familiar with local law enforcement, be adept at local laws, and can help you through the process of obtaining compensation for any injuries.

No matter which state you may have experienced a car accident, it’s best to follow these steps. For an out-of-state car accident, however, it becomes even more crucial to follow these steps to secure compensation.

Which State Laws Apply?

Understanding which state laws apply can be puzzling. Some states operate under a “fault” system, where the at-fault driver is responsible for damages. Others follow a “no-fault” system, where each driver’s insurance covers their own injuries and damages.

The laws of the state in which the accident occurs are the ones that govern the situation. Most states in the U.S., including Arizona, follow a fault-based system to determine financial responsibility for car accidents. In this system, the driver at fault bears responsibility for the damages resulting from the accident.

However, it’s crucial to note that some states operate under a no-fault system. In these states, individuals initially seek compensation from their insurance policies, and only if their coverage is exhausted can they pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Understanding this distinction is vital because the process of handling car accident claims can differ between fault and no-fault states. Typically, your insurance policy in a no-fault state would provide you with the required minimum personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.

Examples of no-fault states include:

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

Driving Out-of-State: What If You Get into a Crash?

If an accident happens while you’re driving out of state, your insurance generally covers it. However, the policy limit will adjust depending on the state where the accident occurred. If the minimum required insurance is higher in the state where the accident happened, your policy limits will increase to meet that minimum. If the minimum required insurance is lower, your policy limits will remain as they are to provide you with the maximum coverage. 

What If an Out-of-State Driver Crashed into You?

The at-fault driver’s insurance is typically responsible for covering your damages, regardless of the driver’s origin. You will have to consult your attorney to navigate the complexities.

Hit-and-Run by an Out-of-State Driver?

Drivers on any road in the U.S. have a basic responsibility to follow traffic rules and drive safely. In Arizona, if you’re in a car accident causing damage or injuries, there are extra responsibilities outlined in the law. According to Arizona statute ARS § 28-663, if you’re driving in Arizona and involved in an accident, whether you live there or not, whether your vehicle is registered or not, and whether you’re at fault or not, you must stop, share certain information, and provide assistance if necessary.

If an out-of-state driver does not follow these instructions, they could face severe penalties including fines and imprisonment. Local authorities may face challenges pursuing out-of-state drivers, so it’s advisable to reach out to an Arizona car crash attorney to help you track them down and seek compensation.

Seek Legal Guidance from Arizona Car Crash Attorneys

Facing an out-of-state car accident demands a seasoned attorney who understands the intricacies of multi-state laws. At Wood Injury Law, we specialize in untangling legal complexities involving car accidents. Our commitment to you is unwavering, whether you’re a local resident or visiting from afar.

Don’t let confusion and stress overwhelm you. Seek legal help from Arizona car crash lawyers who navigate these complex cases daily. We’ll guide you through the process, ensuring you understand your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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