What Do I Need to Do If I Was in a Motorcycle Accident in Another State?
No one’s vacation or business trip should be ruined by an injury accident. What happens when you live in Florida and are involved in a motorcycle crash outside the state’s borders? Or, if you live elsewhere and are hurt during a trip in Florida?
In either case, the first thing to take into consideration is other laws that come into play. The next step is to research whether you may be entitled to different types of compensation than what you would be awarded in your home state.
If your accident occurred in Florida, you can refer to a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer to discover what forms of compensation could be available and receive help seeking the maximum damages possible.
Who Has Jurisdiction Over my Out-of-State Accident?
In almost all cases, the state in which the accident occurred is where all of your legal filings and proceedings would take place. For example, if you live in Florida and were involved in a wreck in Georgia, it would be Georgia that had jurisdiction over the accident.
The exception to this rule is damages being sought are more than $75,000 and the drivers involved were all from different states. In these types of accidents, diversity jurisdiction applies, and it usually becomes an issue for the Federal courts to decide.
Does the Statute of Limitations Change?
The answer to this question is: maybe. The state in which your collision occurred may have the same statute of limitations as Florida. It may not. In general, the statute of limitations across the country ranges from one to six years. Many states commonly have either a four-year or two-year rule on personal injury claims.
After your motorcycle wreck, it is best to consult an attorney as quickly as possible to be sure you do not attempt to file outside of this important deadline.
Are All States No-Fault States?
No! This is very important to note. Only twelve states out of 50 are no-fault liability states — Florida included. Making matters more complicated, none of the states that border us have “no-fault” systems.
In Florida and other states with the same statutes, your own PIP insurance policy will still kick in and pay for your injuries out-of-state, with very few exceptions. This is true even if someone else can be blamed for the accident.
It is always a good idea to pay for Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage on top of your PIP. It’s not required to in Florida have BIL coverage, but if you drive out of state and are involved in an accident, you will wish you had it.
Speaking of which, drivers from other states who get into an accident in Florida may be shocked to find the at-fault driver does not have BIL insurance. In these cases, you may be able to pursue other at-fault parties for damages, and you may also have a claim under certain policies like Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM). Speak to a Tampa motorcycle accident attorney to learn more about your options for pursuing compensation.
What Is the “Serious Injury” Threshold Criteria out of State?
When your motorcycle accident results in a “serious injury” in Florida, you may directly pursue a third-party liability claim that includes damages for your pain and suffering (called non-economic or punitive damages). In other states, you may be able to file a third-party claim for any and all damages — although your pain and suffering award usually cannot exceed your total documented financial damages stemming from medical bills, lost wages, etc. Other states will have a minimum threshold amount before pain and suffering can apply.
Again, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is well-versed in accident law in that particular state. The laws that you are familiar with in Florida may not apply, and the laws in Florida may differ from that of your home state.
Do I Need Medical Attention if I’m Not Injured?
You need to seek medical attention any time you have been involved in a motorcycle accident. Please consider that you are not a medical professional — you do not know if you are uninjured. The trauma that has occurred in and on your body may not be visible immediately after the collision. Even if you choose to not be transported by ambulance, you need to seek medical attention within 24 to 48 hours in order to have your condition fully diagnosed and documented.
What happens if you don’t seek medical attention? Let’s take a look at a quick example:
You are involved in a motorcycle accident and lay your bike down. You have on long pants, boots, long sleeves, and a helmet. You are shaken but not apparently injured. You are able to stand up and walk away on your own. Three days from the accident, you wake up and can barely walk: something is wrong.
Even if you go to the doctor at this point and the doctor believes that your injury is related to your accident, you will have a difficult time proving it in court. Insurers may cast doubt on the fact that your accident was the primary cause of your condition. Always, always seek medical attention immediately following your accident. You may not be diagnosed with an injury right away, but a physician can tell you what to look out for, and it won’t seem as though you are trying to tie an unrelated injury to your accident should you have to go to court.
Also, be certain to save all medical documentation from your visit to a healthcare provider while out of state. Obtaining copies can be more difficult compared to if you were dealing with a hospital or other provider in your home state.
We Are Your Tampa, Florida Injury Advocates
If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious accident, a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer is ready to assist you in securing the compensation you are entitled to. We at Darrigo & Diaz believe in the rights of victims, and we will use every bit of our knowledge and expertise to increase your case’s chances of success.
If you and your family are suffering financial losses at the hands of a negligent party, don’t stand for this! Your lives should not be altered by someone’s poor decision or misdeed. Call our office today at (813) 774-3341 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation case review