Whether you regularly drive out of state for work or are planning a road trip to upstate New York for vacation, driving outside your home state exposes you to the possibility of an out-of-state auto accident.
Car accidents can have serious legal and financial consequences. Consulting an auto accident attorney at Catalano Law can help you understand your rights and responsibilities if you’ve been involved in a car crash in upstate New York.
Out-of-state crashes can complicate the aftermath of an accident due to differences in state laws, insurance policy specifications, and dealing with multiple jurisdictions.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Insurance coverage: Generally, car insurance policies cover you no matter where you are in the U.S. when the accident happens. Your policy will adjust to meet the minimum auto insurance requirements of the state where the accident occurred if they’re higher than the minimum in your home state.
This can be important in no-fault states that require personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, like New York.
- Local laws apply: The laws of the state where the accident happens will typically apply. In New York, which is a no-fault state, your insurance covers your damages regardless of who caused the accident.
You will also need to follow the state’s accident reporting rules, which require you to report an accident within 10 days that results in injury or property damage of more than $1,000.
- Claims process: The process for filing an insurance claim generally doesn’t change when you’re out of state. However, the claims investigation process might take longer because it happened out of state.
- Potential for litigation: If your accident leads to a legal case, it will likely occur in the state where the accident happened. This can mean additional travel for court appearances, depositions, or meetings with your attorney.
New York uses pure comparative negligence to determine liability in car accidents. This means you can win a damage award even if you are partially at fault; however, your award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. The state does not cap economic or non-economic damages for car accidents.
- Car repair/replacement: Depending on the damage, your car will need to be repaired or replaced. This process might take longer because you’re out of state and need to coordinate with local services or possibly have your car transported back to your home state.
Getting into a car accident can be a stressful experience, particularly when you’re out of state. If you have an injury-causing car crash in upstate New York, take these steps to protect your health and right to compensation:
- Call 911: As with any serious accident, expect an immediate response from local police and emergency medical services (EMS). Call 911 immediately to report the accident and mention if there are any injuries.
- Get medical attention: If you’re injured, get medical help right away. Even if you don’t feel hurt, some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), whiplash, or internal bleeding, may not be apparent immediately after an accident.
Seeking immediate medical attention ensures you receive proper diagnoses and treatment. It also creates a record of your injuries and connects them to the collision, which can be crucial in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Contact your insurance company: You should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as you can. Even though New York is a no-fault state, they still need to know about the accident to handle the claim properly.
- Seek legal assistance: You might need to engage a local attorney, especially if the accident is severe and involves litigation. This can help you navigate New York laws because they may be different from your home state.
For instance, while New York is a no-fault state, you may be able to file for compensation from another driver who caused the accident if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold.
A local attorney from Catalano Law can help you understand your compensation options and represent your interests when communicating with the other driver’s insurance or in New York’s civil court system.
- Create documentation: Create and keep thorough documentation of the crash. This includes a copy of the police report, medical reports, records of any treatment received, photographs of the accident scene and your injuries, receipts for any related expenses, and correspondence with insurance companies. Share these with your local attorney so they can use the evidence to build your case.
When you get into an accident out of state, working with an experienced local attorney protects your rights. Our car accident lawyers at Catalano Law are familiar with New York auto insurance regulations and the car crash litigation process for out-of-state drivers.
We can help you navigate your out-of-state accident claim and get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to learn your options after an out-of-state crash.