What should a Florida resident do if injured in an out of state car accident?

Many people who now reside in Florida are originally from out of state, and frequently travel across the U.S. to visit friends and family. Many of our clients also vacation out of state or maintain a life of interstate business travel.

As a Florida resident, what happens if you are seriously injured in a wreck in another state, with different laws? If you are entitled to compensation for severe injuries – where and how do you file a lawsuit?

The answer is, it depends case by case, state by state.

The following information is not intended to solicit clients for personal injury matters outside of Florida. Rather we hope that by introducing Florida motorists to the various laws and complications that can impact them, we may encourage all drivers traveling out of state to protect themselves by planning ahead.

Speak with an experienced Florida attorney at our firm today.
Call 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376)

Jurisdiction in Out-of-State Car Accidents

Scenarios may be as different as a two-car collision in which an out-of-state passenger in a car is injured, to a multi-vehicle wreck on an interstate involving commercial trucks and cars from numerous states, with varying degrees of fault assigned to many drivers.

State Jurisdiction:

The court’s authority to preside over a case is called jurisdiction. The state in which the accident occurred will generally have jurisdiction over the car accident case – meaning the laws of that state will govern the accident case.

If you are seriously injured and a lawsuit is going to be filed, you would in all likelihood file the lawsuit in the county and state where the accident happened. The state’s law would dictate procedure and recoverable benefits. You would want to retain a licensed personal injury attorney from that state.

Federal Jurisdiction:

Exceptions to state jurisdiction can occur when the issues that cause the wreck involve parties from different states. Such cases would fall under the rule of diversity jurisdiction, and applies to cases where at least $75,000 in damages are being sought. Federal courts would have jurisdiction to rule over these cases.

Statute of Limitations Outside of Florida

The time limit for filing suit in an out of state automobile collision will vary depending on the state’s statute of limitations.

It is highly advisable to seek appropriate legal counsel as soon as possible. Limitations for filing personal injury claims across the U.S. range from one to six years.

Different States have Different Liability Laws

Each state has its own laws regarding who is responsible for an accident. Without consulting a qualified attorney, it can be easy to make a mistake trying to understand an unfamiliar state’s negligence and personal injury laws.

Speak with an experienced Florida attorney at our firm today.
Call 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376)

Out of State Car Accident in a “No-Fault” State

The “no-fault” system of insurance means that if a driver is injured in a car collision, his or her own insurance—personal injury protection (PIP)—pays for injuries even if the accident is someone else’s fault. PIP pays medical bills, lost wages and other expenses, up to the limits of the policy.

Florida is one of twelve no-fault liability states in the U.S:

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

Washington, DC also follows a no-fault system. When Florida residents are injured in the above states, No Fault insurance rules for that state typically apply.

A few “fault” states also require drivers to have PIP coverage. These are: Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland and Oregon.

Out of State Car Accident in a “Fault” State

The remaining states are “fault” states, and proving negligence and liability for injuries becomes the focus of the legal matter.

For example, say you are hit by a negligent driver while travelling through North Carolina, which is a “fault” state. Fault exists, and the negligent driver is held responsible for your injury and damages. North Carolina state laws would govern how the accident is resolved, and the at-fault driver’s personal insurance policy determines how medical benefits and lost wages are paid.

States May Have Their Own “Threshold” Criteria

What if injuries are serious, and exceed the limits of your Florida insurance policy?

In certain no-fault states as well as in many fault states, injury victims are allowed to file suit against the responsible parties, if the case meets certain “thresholds.”

Some states require qualitative thresholds, where an injury must meet or exceed a classification of “severe” or “disabling.”

For instance, Florida law requires that only victims whose injuries are significant, permanent or fatal may make a claim for non-economic damages (pain and suffering.) This is critical because in most serious injury cases, a major part of a monetary award is based on pain and suffering damages.

Other states may have a quantitative threshold in place, where the injured may sue the negligent party if the costs and expenses incurred by the injury exceed a financial limit set by the state.

Your Best Bet: Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

Each state’s insurance requirements are diverse and complex. Most states (except Florida and New Hampshire) require bodily injury coverage. Many states require motorists to have Uninsured Motorist coverage as part of their car insurance policies.

The reality is, when a Florida resident is involved in an out-of-state car accident, urgent legal complications may arise, and damages can be difficult to resolve.

Because you live in Florida does not mean you cannot hire a lawyer in another state. Your legal counsel in a personal injury lawsuit must be licensed to practice law in the state which has jurisdiction in the case. Further, an experienced local attorney will possess a comprehensive knowledge of the unique state laws that relate to car accidents and a resourceful familiarity with the state’s legal system.

Decisions on where to file and whether you should settle or file a lawsuit are pivotal strategic decisions. Violating a state statute could jeopardize the likelihood of seeking compensation for your injuries.

For out of state car accidents involving serious personal injury, discuss your matter with a knowledgeable, local accident lawyer. Most State Bars offer a list of licensed attorneys practicing throughout the state.

Orlando Lawyers on Your Side – Kramer Law

Serving as trusted legal advisors, our team of personal injury lawyers values the successful results that we help our clients achieve and the lifelong personal relationships that we develop with our clients.

To speak with an experienced Florida attorney at our firm today:

Call 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376).

Altamonte Springs Office
999 Douglas Avenue
Suite 3333
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
Downtown Orlando Office
37 N. Orange Avenue
Suite 500b
Orlando, FL 32801
CALL (407) 834-4847