It's the time of year for family vacations and getaways. For many, this means a road trip across several state lines. As you set out on that road trip, the last thing you want to happen is a car accident, but what if that should happen to you? How does the process work if you are out of the state you live in when an accident occurs? Let’s take a look at how this works with the state of California.
How to Handle the Claim
No matter where an out-of-state accident occurs, dealing with the insurance claim can be quite a task. Lets say you have an accident in California, but you live in Nevada. If this is the case, then you are able to file and handle the claim in the state of Nevada. However, if you are unable to settle that claim, you would then have to file a lawsuit under California's laws. This is because the accident occurred in the state of California, so that means it would fall under that state’s legal jurisdiction.
What does all of this mean? Unless the California driver chose the higher liability coverage, you would be covered under the California minimum insurance liability amounts. These amounts are: up to $15,000 per person for bodily injury, $30,000 per accident per bodily injury, and $5,000 per accident.
If your injuries or damages do not exceed the minimum liability coverage in California or the driver’s extended coverage, filing a claim should not be much different than with any other accident in-state. Should the injuries or damage exceed that coverage, your claim could get tricky. If the driver has the minimum coverage for California, their insurance would only cover the vehicle’s damage and not your injuries, thus leaving you with all of your medical bills.
Having the Right Insurance Coverage
There is a simple solution for you so that you can make sure to avoid the common problem of being a driver with too little insurance coverage. Simply make sure you carry on your insurance policy the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This is an added coverage should you be in a car accident anywhere with another motorist that does not carry enough or any insurance at all. Having this coverage on your policy means your insurance coverage would kick in even if the party that hit you does not have sufficient coverage.
If you do not carry the Uninsured/Underinsured coverage on your policy, it is a good idea to call and get it added as soon as you can, since a significant portion of the population drives uninsured or underinsured.
If You Have to File a Lawsuit
Remember that if an accident happens in the jurisdiction of California, should you have to file a lawsuit, it would need to be filed in California and need to go by that state’s personal injury laws.
To do this, you need to make sure that you have a lawyer who is licensed in the state of California. There are two ways you can make sure you have the right lawyer. You can either find a lawyer in California who would be willing to handle your case and deal with it remotely, or you can find a lawyer in either state who is licensed in both Nevada and California. It's easier by far to find lawyers who are licensed in both states when the states are right right next to each other. If you are in an accident several states away, it is unlikely that you will be able to have such a luxury. It is possible to find a California attorney who is willing to help you remotely, but you may find it easier and less stressful to find a lawyer in your state as well as the state where the accident took place.
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