How Do Accidents Involving Out-of-State Drivers Work?
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Tragedy struck on Interstate 75 in Kentucky in early January. A white pickup truck was speeding while traveling the wrong way on the highway. It crashed into a vehicle carrying a family of five. The family was traveling back to their home in Michigan after vacationing in Florida. All members of the family and the driver of the pickup truck were killed in the accident.
News outlets throughout the country picked up the story, and many were left in shock at the nature of the accident. As the shock subsided, it left many with questions pertaining to these types of accidents that involve out-of-state drivers. How does insurance work? What laws govern these accidents - Kentucky’s, or the home state of the drivers involved?
Generally speaking, an insurance policy is nationwide. This means it will cover a driver no matter where they go in the country. Assuming that the driver from Michigan had proper insurance, that insurance policy would still provide coverage in case of an accident, regardless of where it took place. As long as the issuing insurance company does business in the Commonwealth of Kentucky then they must provide at least the bare minimum insurance required by the laws of Kentucky even if such coverage is not in the insurance policy.
Insurance issues become more complicated if the policy was purchased outside of the country. If the family had been from Canada, for example, that insurance policy is not typically applicable in the United States. Drivers that are from outside of the country need to purchase additional insurance that will cover them in case an accident occurs while they are not in their home country.
While the insurance policy will still provide coverage, the coverage provided is governed by the state in which the accident occurred. Applying that to this latest story, Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state. Kentucky on the other hand, is a no-fault optional state.
If the pickup driver had Kentucky no-fault insurance, both drivers may have gone through their own insurance companies to collect accident benefits. If the Kentucky driver had rejected no-fault insurance, though, the Kentucky insurance company would need to determine fault before making a payment for the Kentucky driver, and the insurance company of the at-fault driver would provide accident benefits to each.
Out-of-State Personal Injury Lawsuits
Often, when an insurance company does not provide the coverage needed, a personal injury lawsuit is filed against the at-fault driver. Just as the insurance laws of the state in which the accident occurred apply, so do the negligence laws of that state. If the family's remaining relatives wished to file a wrongful death lawsuit, they would need to do so in Kentucky, as that is where the accident happened.
This doesn’t mean that they would need to spend weeks, months, or even years in Kentucky. Those who are filing a lawsuit in Kentucky but live in another state can hire an attorney to represent them and to appear on their behalf. Most communication is done by email or phone. However, if the case went to court, the family members will need to visit Kentucky for a short period of time and appear before a judge and jury.
In the Most Complicated Cases, You Need a Richmond Car Accident Attorney
Nearly every car accident has its own challenges. There are some cases, however, where the complexities make a case extremely challenging, such as when you are in a Kentucky accident with a driver from out of state. While having legal representation is recommended for any car accident involving a serious injury, in cases like these, speaking to a Richmond personal injury attorney is of critical importance.
If you have been involved in a car accident, you know how important it is to get back to your best health right away. At the Morrin Law Office, we’ll help you do just that. Call us today at (859) 358-0300 to see how we can help sort out insurance issues, and even help you file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver but only if absolutely necessary. There are many difficult questions after an accident. We have the answers, and we will use them to protect your interests during this difficult time.