Unfortunately, accidents are quite common and can happen anywhere, even while traveling, visiting family and friends, or on business. If this has happened to you and you have suffered injuries, you may be wondering if the process of filing a claim and receiving compensation is different than if your personal injury had taken place in the state where you usually live. You may also want to know if you might have to hire an attorney to help you with this out-of-state accident. If so, you can read more about this.
One of the first things that must be determined when the accident happens in a state that is not where you live is who will have jurisdiction over the claim. This may be determined by knowing where the defendant lives and where the accident took place. It may be that the defendant does live in the state where the accident happened, or they may live somewhere else. Although it may seem inconvenient to file in a different state, you may have no option but to do so if that state has jurisdiction over your personal injury case.
What laws would apply to your personal injury case?
Once you have figured out where you have to file your claim, it is necessary to understand as well what state’s laws will preside over the case. It is customary that the claim will have to abide by the state’s laws where the accident took place. Should the defendant live in a different state, the laws that will apply will be those of the state where the injuries occurred.
Wherever the accident happens can play a decisive role in the outcome of your personal injury claim. Every state has unique and different personal injury laws. They include such items as fault laws, statutes of limitations, or comparative negligence rules.
In what state should you hire a personal injury lawyer?
Hiring a personal injury attorney in a state that is not where you live can be very helpful when it comes to handling your case. This is particularly important when dealing with injuries that may be reflected in a much more complicated case. Take the time to find a lawyer who is licensed in that state and who has knowledge and experience with cases like yours. Placing your legal case in the hands of an expert will give you the peace of mind you need to be able to focus on recovering your health.
What steps should you take to protect your rights after being in an accident in a different state?
Whenever you find yourself injured in an accident through no fault of your own, wherever this may happen, try to remain as calm as possible to protect your rights. Start by calling the police to the scene. They will analyze the situation and prepare a report. There is no need for you to speculate out loud as to what happened, nor do they need your input regarding who might be to blame. They have the knowledge needed to reach their conclusions. Also, anything you say may, later on, be used against you. Answer all questions in a straightforward and concise manner. Also:
Document the Scene
If your injuries allow you to remain at the scene of the accident, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible. Start by taking pictures of both cars, if you were in a car accident, or of the place where your slip and fall, or any other type of accident occurred. Exchange personal information with the other party, get their license number, information on the car, and their insurance company. Take pictures of anything that might have contributed to the accident, such as an oil spill, differences in floor levels, or whatever might have caused the accident to take place. The more information you gather at the scene, the stronger a case your lawyer will be able to help you build in your defense.
Get Medical Attention
If your injuries are extensive and severe, you may need to be transported by ambulance to the nearest emergency center. Otherwise, make sure to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine and think there are no obvious injuries, it is important to have this confirmed by a healthcare professional. You may be surprised to discover that there are internal injuries or bleeding that, if left untreated, may lead to unexpected and long-lasting consequences. Always answer truthfully when a medical professional wants to know how you feel and ask for copies of your health care records. Your lawyer will advise you on how to proceed with your claim.
Call Your Insurance
It is important to let your own insurance company know about the accident and any medical care you have received. Do not be in a rush to accept their offer, which may start out being low. Remember that once you accept their offer and sign any paperwork, it may be impossible to reopen the case if further medical care is needed or the amount you received is insufficient to cover your medical expenses so far. Talk to your lawyer before accepting a lowball offer.
Listen to Your Lawyer’s Advice
Every personal injury case is as unique as the injuries suffered by the victim. In some cases, your lawyer may file a motion to move the case’s jurisdiction to a location that is more convenient for you, especially when you must be near your doctor, hospital, rehab facility, or any other medical setting. Your lawyer may obtain permission to do so from the other state’s bar. You may end up settling with the other party before the case ever gets to court, but it is always beneficial to an injured victim to have the option of having the case heard in their own state.