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I was in an accident with an out-of-state driver. What are my options?

One of the most gut-wrenching and scary experiences one might face is a motor vehicle accident. Complicating matters even more is when the other driver involved is from out of state.

Imagine that you are driving in your home state of Massachusetts when an out-of-state driver hits you or causes some type of property damage and bodily injury to you and your passengers. Because Massachusetts is in close proximity to several other states, it is possible that you could be injured by an out-of-state driver. It is also possible that you are injured by a driver from another country, such as Canada. It is important to understand the options available to you in this situation. Likewise, it is important to understand the limits of your insurance policy and seek the best coverage that you can afford as it applies to your specific needs.

When an accident with an out-of-state driver occurs, the number one priority is the health and safety of all people and animals involved. If you are involved in a car accident in which injury, death, or over $1,000 worth of damage occurs, the state of Massachusetts requires that you file a Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report within five days of the accident; this is true even if law enforcement was present after the incident. You should obtain information from all parties involved, such as names, license numbers of the drivers, license plate numbers, descriptions of vehicles and all people involved, and insurance information. You should also take photographs of the scene and you may want to document the weather conditions. Never leave the scene of an accident. If the police file a report, you should try to obtain this report. You should also always operate your motor vehicle with proof of insurance, your driver’s license, and any other necessary documentation as required by law. Some states do not require proof of an insurance card, but it is smart to carry your policy.

After the initial shock and acute or chronic pain of the incident is understood, you may need to consider your legal options. First, do not speak with any insurance company without seeking counsel. You need to be careful with statements that you make to all insurance companies, including your own insurance company.

One legal option that you may consider is the possibility of your filing a lawsuit. If you want to sue someone for your injuries, you should hire a competent personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Your case could take years to resolve, so it important that you hire someone with the right amount of experience in personal injury law and dedication to your unique circumstances.

Of particular importance is the issue of personal jurisdiction, which is what allows the court to make a judgment against an individual defendant and to bind that defendant to its judgment. In the case of out-of-state defendants, the Massachusetts “long arm statute” may be helpful in establishing personal jurisdiction in order to file suit. This statute allows for out-of-state defendants to be sued in Massachusetts in a number of instances. In Massachusetts, a court may have the ability to hear a case over nonresidents of Massachusetts if the lawsuit arises out from several issues, one being that the defendant caused injury in Massachusetts.

You should also know that there are legal limits that will govern where and how you may serve the defendant. Service of process deals with providing adequate notice to the defendant regarding the lawsuit, and specific rules apply to out-of-state defendants.

If you are injured in another state by a driver from the same state where the accident and injury occurred, then your lawyer may file suit in the state where the injury occurred. If both parties do not live in Massachusetts, but the accident occurred in Massachusetts, the case could be heard in in Massachusetts. You should also be aware of the applicable statute of limitations, which means that you are limited to bringing your lawsuit within a set period of time. Your car accident lawyer will review the facts of your case to determine these limits.

State law determines the liability in a lawsuit. State law also determines the way that damages are interpreted. If a car accident occurs in Massachusetts with an out-of-state driver, the lawsuit would most likely be filed in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, the injured victim in a motor vehicle accident must prove that the defendant was negligent. This means that the defendant should have operated his or her motor vehicle with reasonable care and that he or she did not do so. This violation had to have been the cause of the victim’s damages. The victim in the accident could receive compensation for medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, and missed wages. The victim’s family could also sue for loss of companionship.

Personal injury, negligence, damages and other accident-related topics are as nuanced and unique as the people involved in every case. If you have any questions about car accidents, personal injury law, tort law, damages, or other legal incidents, please contact our offices. You may schedule a free consultation with an experienced professional today. Call 978-225-9030 during business hours or complete a contact form online.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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