As Matt gathered details about the accident, he asked the father if his daughter lived in Indiana or Michigan. The father’s answer was immediately followed by an important question: “She lives in Indiana. Will that make a difference?”
Unfortunately, an out-of-state car accident isn’t always as clear-cut as one that occurs in your home state.
In addition to different and ever-changing laws, states have the right to set individual damage caps for compensation. Also, in the unlikely event that a lawsuit is required, your attorney may be forced to file in a venue outside your home state.
So in other words, yes, resolving an out-of-state car accident case has the potential to be quite different from one that occurs in the state where you reside.
Which Laws Apply to Out-of-State Car Accidents?
No matter your home address, or which state is pictured on your driver’s license, there is a presumption that the laws of the state where the car accident occurred will govern your case.
In rare instances, that presumption can be overcome, however, making this happen can prove to be quite difficult for car accident victims.
Let’s take a closer look at the I-94 accident example to see how personal injury laws can potentially vary from state to state.
Since the man’s daughter was injured in Detroit, Boulton Law Group may be handling the case in accordance with Michigan’s most recent accident laws, despite the fact that she was a resident of Indiana.
In this case, one important distinction between Indiana and Michigan concerns the two state’s comparative fault insurance laws. Indiana is a fault-based insurance state, while Michigan is a no-fault state.
In general, a no-fault state requires car accident victims to seek compensation from their own insurance company, even if the other party is determined to be liable for the collision.
By comparison, a fault-based state such as Indiana requires car accident victims to first seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. (If the defendant does not have insurance, victims can then file an uninsured claim with their own insurance company.)
Additionally, each state has a unique statute of limitations law that dictates how long car accident victims have to resolve their personal injury claim before it is permanently barred.
If the car accident victim in our example is unsure about Michigan’s statute of limitations on car accidents, she risks losing her rights to collect any compensation.
As you can see, any number of scenarios can arise from out-of-state car accidents that have the potential to lead to complex legal matters.
For this reason, we recommend that you consult with an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney who can help you to better understand the state laws where your car accident took place.
Which State Would a Personal Injury Lawsuit Be Filed?
In the vast majority of instances–if liability is on our side–Matt will able to settle your car accident claim without having to go to court.
However, there are times when an insurance company takes an unfair position, either suggesting the accident was our client’s fault, or they make an offer that is much less than what Matt believes the case is worth.
If Matt decides that filing a lawsuit is in your best interest, he’ll most likely proceed with one of the following two options:
- File the lawsuit in the state where your car accident occurred.
- File the lawsuit in the state where the defendant lives.
Of course, Matt will always consult with you before filing a lawsuit and/or choosing a venue.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to file a lawsuit in your home state unless the defendant agrees to a change of venue.
And keep in mind, no matter which state your car accident occurred in, it will be imperative to submit the necessary paperwork to the appropriate courthouse in the correct county.
In addition to helping ensure that your lawsuit is filed in accordance with the appropriate state’s laws, Matt can also help to preserve your case by filing (or settling) it before the corresponding statute of limitations date.
Questions About Your Out-of-State Car Accident?
If you were injured while traveling out of state, we recommend you ask an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney to review your case before speaking with the insurance company.
Matt has more than 20 years’ experience helping injured Hoosiers with their personal injury claims. In a number of instances, he has also represented out-of-state visitors who were involved in an Indiana car accident.
No matter where you live, Boulton Law Group provides every accident victims a Zero Fee Guarantee. This promise means that you will never be charged for friendly legal advice, and the only time our firm receives payment is if we win your case.
To speak to Matt, give us a call at 317-350-2680. Or if you prefer to write to us, use our confidential contact form. Matt personally reviews every website contact received at our firm.
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.