How does out of state car accident jurisdiction work?
Florida has long been a top travel destination, and tourism has grown even more in the past decade. Although the visitors are great for our state’s economy, it can make the roads hell to drive on when you factor in all the drivers who aren’t familiar with the area and don’t know where to go.
Unsurprisingly, many car accidents in Florida involve a driver who isn’t from this state (or even country). Since many visitors come to Florida for vacation, you never know what to expect from another driver. They may be unfamiliar with traffic signs, turning lanes, local traffic laws, and other road signals that increase the potential for a collision.
While handling car accident compensation may seem more complicated with an out-of-state driver, having a basic understanding how Florida insurance law and working with an experienced attorney can help you resolve issues that arise during these stressful situations.
Were you or a loved one involved in a car crash involving an out-of-state driver?
You may be eligible for financial compensation.
Learn more about your rights by completing our free case review form today.
What To Do After a Car Accident With an Out-of-State Driver
Here’s an overview of five critical steps you can take if you find yourself in an accident with a driver who isn’t from Florida:
- 1. Call the police
- 2. Seek medical attention
- 3. Photograph all evidence of the crash
- 4. Get contacts for any eyewitnesses
- 5. Notify your insurance company
…and most importantly, never admit fault!
Establishing Liability Involving Drivers from Out-of-State
Florida has its fair share of drivers who simply rent a car and take to the streets without really knowing what it’s like to drive on I-4 in Orlando or how the express lanes work in Miami-Dade County. In addition, out-of-state drivers use their own insurance or insurance provided by a rental car business. Since every state has different insurance requirements, some accident might not be totally covered under these policies, which would lead to additional costs.
However, Florida lawmakers have anticipated this problem, which is one of the reasons the state requires all drivers to have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance. PIP coverage is a no-fault system, meaning you would file a claim with your insurance company after an accident — regardless of whether you or the other driver was responsible.
That said, PIP insurance only covers so much. Serious accidents involving catastrophic injuries may not be fully covered under a person’s PIP policy — in which case they would need to pursue a third-party lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Fortunately, Florida also has the Long-Arm Statute to protect drivers in the state. This statute gives Florida courts the power to summon any out-of-state drivers to appear when summoned. Under this law, anyone who drives in Florida automatically falls under the jurisdiction of this statute, and they must appear in court if a judge demands it.
There may be more than one party involved, which means that damages could be recovered from multiple people involved in the accident. If there are more than two parties in an accident, Florida law works as a comparative fault state. This means that damages are awarded according to each driver’s degree of fault for the accident. For example, if the court finds that the victim is found to be at least 50 percent responsible for their own injuries, then they can still receive damages for the remaining 50 percent.
Out-of-State Car Accident Damages
Everyone on the road should act responsibly and understand the laws, regardless of whether they live there or are just visiting. If they don’t, they may be held liable for the other person’s injuries and damages.
Under Florida law, damages that are available in third-party car accident lawsuits include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Pain and suffering
Why You Need Legal Representation After an Out-of-State Accident
When you get into an accident with a driver who isn’t from Florida, it may be easier for that party to leave the scene or completely fabricate events in order to get out of owing any damages or avoid liability. In these cases, hiring a lawyer helps propel your claim forward and ensures that you receive any damages you’re owed because of the incident.
At Tragos, Sartes & Tragos, our personal injury lawyers know Florida law backwards and forwards — so much so that we’re able to communicate with all parties, including drivers and insurance companies, and resolve your case quickly.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida caused by
an out-of-state driver, contact the experienced attorneys at
Tragos Law for your free case consultation today.