What to do if you are involved in an out-of-state car accident

Imagine this… You are driving to Disneyland and just crossed State line into California when you are rear-ended by a California driver. Luckily the damage to the car is not too bad and you are still able to make it to Disneyland. Once you get back to Las Vegas you see your doctor and you have some aches and pains that require treatment. You contact the insurance company for the at-fault driver and the adjuster starts informing you of all these requirements under California law for your claim. You wonder why should it make a big difference that the accident happened just over the state line in California, as the other driver is at fault and your injuries speak for themselves. Unfortunately, the location of an accident can make all the difference in your rights and recovery for a car accident, as every State has different laws for injury claims.

For example, California has the same time period for the filing of a lawsuit for a car accident as Nevada, two years. Other than this fact though, California and Nevada law differ greatly as to insurance laws and injury recoveries. As to med pay and underinsured/uninsured coverages, Nevada has much better insurance laws than California. In terms of recoveries for injuries, arbitrators and juries in California award much less compensation for soft tissue injuries than do arbitrators and juries in Nevada. Since the accident happened in California with a California driver, you have to sue the other driver in California even though this might present a hardship for you in terms of traveling to California for any arbitrations or trials. If the car accident happened on the Nevada side of State line, you get the benefits of Nevada law and being able to sue in Clark County. However, if the accident happens just over the border in California, your claim is governed by California law and subject to litigation in California courts.

Complicating matters for out of state car accidents is when the accident occurs in a No-Fault State. No-Fault States have strict guidelines on what treatment will be accepted and the amount of compensation that will be allowed depending on the category of injury. These rules in No-Faults States were mainly implemented by insurance companies to limit treatment and compensation for soft tissue injuries. In Nevada, there are no set rules for treatment and compensation for any injury. If you and the insurance company disagree about the value of your injury claim, you can just sue and see what an arbitrator or jury thinks of the claim. However, with No-Fault there are so many restrictions under the law, you simply do not have the same rights as if the accident had occurred in your home State of Nevada.

States also differ in the amount of time allowed for when a lawsuit has to be filed for an accident. California used to be one year and then it changed to two years awhile back. Utah has a four year time period for filing suit, while Tennessee only has a one year time period for filing suit. The shorter the time period for filing suit, the more likely a lawsuit will have to be filed against the other driver in their home State. If a lawsuit has to be filed within a year of the accident and most people treat for several months for their injuries, that leaves a very small window to settle with the insurance company in the claims stage. The insurance company cannot settle your claim until it has all of your bills and records. So if you treat for six months and it takes another three months to get the bills and records to the adjuster and start negotiating, that leaves three months so settle the case or have a lawsuit filed in the State of the at-fault driver. You may find yourself in a “race to the courthouse” to make sure a lawsuit is timely filed and your rights are not completely lost. Accordingly, the time period for filing suit may affect if you can settle your claim without a lawsuit or not.

You need a Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney That You Can Trust

Getting into a car accident is an unfortunate experience and often times there is unfairness given the nature of insurance companies. Out of State accidents can sometimes increase the unfairness factor significantly, as frankly, most States do not have just laws for accident victims like Nevada. In terms of retaining a lawyer in the State where the accident is located, unless there is a short time period for filing suit or a dispute in liability such that a lawsuit has to be filed, most of the time a Nevada attorney can handle your claim. You need the best Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney.  At Craig P. Kenny and Associates, we  have successfully handled hundreds of Las Vegas Car Accident cases for clients who have gotten into accidents throughout the United States and Mexico. In these cases if a lawsuit has had to be filed, we have partnered up with out of State attorneys at no additional cost to the client. Accordingly, even if your car accident is out of State, this is certainly an accident for which our law office can provide legal assistance.


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