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Out of State Car Accidents: Three Things All Tennessee Drivers Should Know

What if I have a car accident in another state? Will my auto insurance still cover me? What do I do?

out of state car accidents

If you frequently drive out-of-state for work or leisure, a few of the questions above may have crossed your mind.
Chances are, you may even know someone who has been involved in an out-of-state accident. Continue reading to learn about some of your legal options according to Tennessee state law and three things every Tennessee drive should be aware of.

Out-of-State Car Accident Liability Minimum May Differ

One of the considerations you face if you have an out-of-state car accident is what may happen if the state in which the accident occurs has different minimums for liability. If you have coverage that surpasses the minimum, you don't have to worry. However, if you only carry minimum liability, you may want to check with your insurer to see if they will meet the other state's minimum in the event of an accident, even though most will.

In Tennessee, minimum liability coverage is $25,000/$50,000/$15,000. The last figure, which covers property damage, is lower than in many other states, so drivers should pay particular attention to that one.

Understanding Insurance Systems in Other States

The state in which the accident occurs also determines whose insurance pays for damages to vehicles and property. Some states use a "no-fault" insurance system, which means if you are injured in an auto accident, your own insurance should pay for your injuries no matter who was at fault.

States with no-fault systems are:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

Most other states are “at-fault” states, meaning that whoever caused the accident, along with their insurance companies, are responsible for payment of damages. However, the nuances can become tricky as their are variances of the at-fault system, which include pure comparative fault, modified comparative fault and contributory negligence.

  • Pure comparative fault reduces your compensation for an accident based on the percentage of how much you were at fault in the incident. So if you are deemed 20 percent at fault, you would only receive 80 percent of due compensation.

  • Modified comparative fault states require that injured drivers must be less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, otherwise they cannot collect any compensation from the other driver's insurance.

  • In the final scenario, contributory negligence, injured drivers cannot collect from the other party's insurance if they have been deemed only to be one percent at fault. When faced with an accident that occurs in an at-fault state, it's best to consult an experienced attorney to navigate through your options.

Important Considerations for Filing an Out-of-State Auto Accident Lawsuits

Always make sure to promptly seek medical help and contact your insurance company to follow the exact steps needed for filing of claims. Failure to do so could jeopardize your case, no matter where it is litigated.

Of course, injured individuals always have the option to file lawsuits in the state where the accident occurred if an insurance company is unwilling to provide adequate compensation. Keep in mind that you will not only have to abide by specific laws in that jurisdiction, you will also have to travel to attend any court appearances.

In such situations, it is strongly recommended you hire a car accident attorney who is licensed to practice in that state and is familiar with the laws in that jurisdiction.

Another complication can involve suing a corporation, such as a trucking company, that employs a driver responsible for an accident. In such cases, plaintiffs must file suit in the state where the company is headquartered. The situation can get even more complicated if the driver involved is a resident in a completely different state, as multiple court venues and suits could be involved.

Did you get into an accident in Tennessee? Let the experienced Tennessee car accident attorneys at Gilreath & Associates help secure the compensation you are owed. With law offices in Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis, we are prepared to meet with you to discuss your case during a free consultation.

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