Getting stuck in traffic while on the daily commute is annoying. Getting into a car accident when you’re already late for work/picking up the kids at school/rushing to finish your errands is exasperating. But what happens if the other driver is from out of state? Will it complicate things? Will you be able to sue or have to defend a lawsuit in a place that’s not convenient for you?
Considering that the Sunshine State is a vacation destination for so many people from all over the world, it is beneficial for local residents to understand the implications.
Car Accidents Involving Out of State Drivers
Every state has its own laws regarding car insurance policies. While Florida requires a minimum coverage of $10,000 per accident, other states require a higher amount. However, regardless of where the motorist is from, if the accident occurs in Florida, Florida laws apply.
Now, let’s take a look at how different elements would come into play.
Personal Injury Protection
The State of Florida requires all car insurance policies to include Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This type of coverage will pay up to $10,000 for damages resulting from an accident, regardless of who was at fault. It covers 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages. To take advantage of this benefit, you have to file a claim with your own insurance company within 14 days from the date of the accident. PIP coverage applies to:
- The named insured
- Relatives who live with the named insured
- The person driving the insured motor vehicle
- Passengers in the motor vehicle
- Other persons struck by the motor vehicle
When filing a PIP claim, you don’t have to worry about your insurance premiums increasing, since Florida law establishes that insurance companies are not allowed to do so unless the insurer can make a good faith determination that you were substantially at fault for the accident.
If your damages exceed $10,000, you’ll have to sue the other driver to recover the difference. So what happens if the out-of-state driver is no longer in Florida?
Establishing Jurisdiction After Car Accident With Out of State Driver
You’ve likely heard the word “jurisdiction”, but what does it mean? In a nutshell, the term refers to a Court’s right to exercise its authority over a person. For example, if you’ve never been to Idaho, have never had business dealings with anyone in Idaho, and have never established minimum contacts with anyone in that state, a Court in Idaho would not be able to establish jurisdiction over you. However, if a person is involved in an accident within a state, that state’s courts have jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant involved in the accident.
If you are involved in an accident, Florida law requires a written report of the incident, including all of the following information:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- A description of the vehicles involved
- The names and addresses of drivers involved in the accident
- The names and addresses of passengers
- The names and addresses of witnesses
- The name and badge number, and law enforcement agency of the officer investigating the incident
- The names of the insurance companies of the parties involved in the accident
You can use this information when filing a lawsuit against the out-of-state driver, and the out-of-state driver will be required by law to show up in court to defend the lawsuit. Failing to appear can result in a default judgment in your favor.
Call the Car Accident Lawyers at Clark Law If You’ve Been In a Car Accident in Tampa Bay
If you were involved in a car accident with an out-of-state driver, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients involved in motor vehicle accidents, and we can help you determine the best next step.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.