According to the state’s official travel planning source, Florida averages well over 100 million visitors from out of state every year. The majority arrive by car, and many of those who fly will rent a car and drive in Florida. So Florida residents are more likely to be involved in a car accident with an out-of-state driver than residents of most other states.
Does that change the way that those accidents are handled by insurance? Does it affect Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims or the ability to sue the driver responsible for causing an accident? What effect does the driver’s resident state have on accident recovery in Florida?
Most Tourists Don’t Have PIP Insurance
Only 11 other states in the U.S. require PIP insurance, so most out-of-state drivers won’t have this type of coverage. PIP coverage, also thought of as “no-fault” coverage, pays for most of your medical bills and some of your lost wages in an accident, regardless of who was at fault. In a typical accident in Florida among in-state drivers, an injured victim would seek compensation first from their PIP coverage and then, only in case of certain permanent injuries, could they file a lawsuit for additional compensation.
If a driver that causes an accident in Florida is from a PIP state such as New York or New Jersey, then an accident may be resolved in the same way as if the driver was from Florida. However, if the driver responsible for the accident is from a state with traditional fault-based liability coverage, Florida accident victims may have more options for recovery. The out-of-state driver’s insurance should cover their actions while they are driving in Florida, and coverage may be more substantial than the limited amounts available through PIP.
It is important to note that If a Florida driver is responsible for causing injuries to an out-of-state visitor without PIP coverage, the Florida driver would be required to pay for the care of those injuries unless they have purchased bodily injury coverage. The at-fault rules of the out-of-state victim’s home would apply.
How to Handle an Accident with an Out-of-State Driver
It is important to contact the police after an accident to report the incident. The police report will serve as valuable evidence, and failure to report the accident could subject you to penalties. The police may issue citations to the at-fault driver, which can make it easier to establish liability in a claim for damages.
Drivers should exchange insurance information, and take photos of ID, license plates, vehicle damage, and other critical information if possible. You should report the accident to your insurance company, but do not speculate on causes or any information not supported by hard factual evidence.
To protect yourself, it is best to avoid speaking with the other driver’s insurance company until after you have consulted an attorney for legal advice. Insurers are notorious for trying to trick people into saying things that can be turned against them and used to deny payments. If you hire an attorney to represent you, your lawyer can handle questions from insurance companies to avoid potential problems.
Out-of-State Drivers Can Be Required to Appear in Florida Court
Florida statutes specify that drivers from other states who elect to drive within the state of Florida give their consent to appear in Florida courts if they damage property or injure someone while driving or performing any action that causes damage or injuries. Special procedures must be followed when you are filing a lawsuit against someone from another state, so it is wise to work with an attorney familiar with handling out-of-state defendants. Your attorney can help you file a claim with an out-of-state insurance company as well, including preparing a demand letter explaining the full extent of your tangible and intangible losses.
Experienced Legal Guidance Makes All the Difference with Complex Accident Claims
Every car accident case has its own complications, but cases involving out-of-state drivers can be particularly challenging. However, in some cases, they can provide injured accident victims with additional avenues to receive compensation for pain, suffering, emotional anguish, and other losses.
To give yourself the best opportunities for a full recovery, it is a good idea to work with an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible after a collision. The dedicated team at the Maus Law Firm regularly works on cases with drivers from other states with different insurance laws, so we understand how to help you take advantage of available provisions for compensation. For a confidential free consultation to learn more about the ways we can assist, contact us now.