Out-of-state drivers are common in a state like New Jersey, bordered by several other states and major metropolitan areas. Accidents with these drivers might come with certain legal complications that an experienced lawyer can help you with.
While no-fault insurance is the norm in New Jersey, it is optional or unavailable in nearby states like Pennsylvania or Connecticut. As such, you might have more insurance options and should talk to a lawyer before starting a claim. Another issue you need to address is where to begin a lawsuit. When dealing with a defendant from another state, you may sue them in the state where the accident happened or their home state. Depending on the circumstances, you might instead sue them in federal court. In some cases, out-of-state drivers head to their home state with no intention of returning. In that case, your attorney can work with the authorities to find the other driver and serve them notice of your lawsuit via long-arm statutes.
Contact our NJ car accident lawyers by calling Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 to schedule a free review of your case regarding your accident with an out-of-state driver.
How to File an Insurance Claim if An Out-of-State Driver Hits You in NJ
Being hit by a driver from another state might present some complications when you file an insurance claim. New Jersey is a no-fault state, meaning drivers are covered by mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) policies. Instead of filing claims with the other driver’s insurance, New Jersey drivers file claims with their own policies and do not have to prove fault to be compensated.
Several nearby states make no-fault insurance policies optional or unavailable. As such, it is very possible that you could be injured in a car accident with a driver who does not have no-fault insurance. Instead, they might have a more typical fault-based insurance.
There are some key differences in these insurance types. While no-fault allows injured drivers to get compensation through their own insurance providers without the need to show fault, the policy limits tend to be lower. Fault-based insurance requires a showing of fault that might be difficult to achieve, but the policy limits tend to be higher, and you might get more of your damages covered.
Talk to an attorney about your insurance options. Depending on your insurance policy and damages, you might be able to file a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance. If they have a higher policy limit and your damages are more significant, filing a third-party claim might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you are having trouble finding evidence to prove the other driver’s fault, you might want to file a PIP claim.
Where to Sue an Out-of-State Driver After a Car Accident in NJ
One fundamental component of a lawsuit is the court in which it is filed. You and your lawyer must make sure to file your case in the correct court. Different courts have different types of jurisdictions, meaning they are permitted to hear only certain types of claims. Generally, a court may have jurisdiction over cases arising within a specific geographic location (i.e., the state) or over specific people.
If you are hit by a driver living in another state, you might have a few options for courts when you file your lawsuit. First, you can file your lawsuit in a New Jersey court because the car accident happened in New Jersey. Even if the defendant does not live in New Jersey, the court would have jurisdiction over them because the cause of action arose in New Jersey.
Another option is to file the case in the defendant’s home state. A person’s home state may have personal jurisdiction, meaning they have jurisdiction over a specific person because that person is a resident of the state.
Personal jurisdiction might also apply if the defendant is not a resident of a certain state but has sufficient connections with the state. For example, if they work in a certain state and have many business dealings there, that state might have personal jurisdiction. If the defendant lives in another state but has sufficient connections with New Jersey, you might still sue them in New Jersey even though they are not a resident.
When multiple states are implicated in a single lawsuit, you might have the option of taking it to federal court. Federal courts may hear various types of cases. Federal courts may exercise diversity jurisdiction when a lawsuit involves multiple states. The next question is, what kind of law should apply to the case?
Under the Erie doctrine – which stems from a very old court case involving diversity jurisdiction – federal courts apply the substantive laws of the state where they sit. Under this rule, a federal court in New Jersey may apply New Jersey laws to your lawsuit. However, this is not the only rule that applies to issues of diversity jurisdiction. The choice of law is a very complex legal field, and it is possible that another state’s laws might apply. You should talk to your attorney in depth about your case if you think you might file your lawsuit in federal court.
Finding the Out-of-State Driver Who Hit You in NJ
One of the biggest problems plaintiffs face when dealing with defendants from another state is tracking them down. It is difficult to file a third-party insurance claim or a lawsuit if the other driver has left the state and refuses to return. Your Passaic, NJ car accident attorney can help you find the other driver and begin legal proceedings to get compensation.
If the other driver returns to their home state, you might have difficulty serving them notice when you file a lawsuit. If the defendant is not served proper notice, your case cannot move forward. Serving notice is extremely important.
When a defendant is outside the state where you wish to sue them – in this case, New Jersey – you must go through specific legal channels to serve notice. Long-arm statutes allow the authorities to metaphorically reach outside the state and serve notice on the defendant.
Contact Our NJ Car Accident Lawyers if You Were Hit by a Driver From Another State
If a driver from another state hits you, call our Newark, NJ car accident lawyers at Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 to set up a free, private review of your claims.