Accidents Involving Out-of-State Drivers

Car Crash Lawyers Serving the Los Angeles Area

If you were involved in a car accident that was caused by an out-of-state driver, you may be concerned about your ability to recover compensation. Conversely, if you are from out of state and are injured by a California driver, you may worry about your ability to bring a lawsuit in California. All drivers in California are governed by certain road rules and rules for liability. At Sharifi Firm, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys can help you seek damages if you were hurt in a crash caused by someone else.

Liability for Accidents Involving Out-of-State Drivers

Code of Civil Procedure section 410.10 allows California courts to exercise jurisdiction over out-of-state drivers, among other nonresidents, as long as they do not do so inconsistently with the federal or state Constitutions. Generally, courts may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident as long as that party has had minimum contacts with California, such that maintaining the lawsuit does not offend traditional ideas about substantial justice and fair play.

An out-of-state driver needs to have insurance that complies with California law. California law requires all drivers to be able to pay damages arising out of their ownership or operation of a motor vehicle. They must have sufficient financial responsibility to pay for at least $15,000 for each person injured or killed in an accident, at least $30,000 for injury or death to two or more people in an accident, and at least $5,000 to cover property damage.

Like California drivers, out-of-state drivers need to report accidents that result in more than $750 worth of damage to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the accident. However, it is important to notify the police immediately after an accident that causes an injury so that an accident report can be created. This may provide important evidence in a lawsuit.

Ignorance of California's road rules is not a defense to a personal injury action. An out-of-state driver who violates a safety law may be held responsible under a theory of negligence per se, or negligence as a matter of law. Negligence per se is an appropriate theory under which to bring a lawsuit if the defendant violated a safety law, this resulted in injuries, and the safety law was designed to guard against an injury of the type that was suffered and was designed to protect the class of people to which the plaintiff belongs.

Out-of-state drivers should be aware that a failure to stop at the scene of an accident is a crime in California. Drivers are expected to stop and evaluate the situation. A misdemeanor hit and run may be charged against someone who leaves the scene without first identifying himself or herself when someone else's property was damaged. A felony misdemeanor may be charged if someone else was injured in a hit and run accident.

It may be difficult to hold an out-of-state driver accountable if the driver does not have insurance coverage that is valid in California. However, in some cases, a victim may pursue the defendant's assets to cover the damages, or apply for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage under a plaintiff's policy. It is not mandatory to have uninsured motorist coverage in California, but it is wise to carry it.

Contact a Dedicated Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles

If you are injured in an accident, and you are from another state, or you are hurt in an accident caused by an out-of-state driver, it is important to retain an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer. At Sharifi Firm, we may be able to help you recover compensation for your harm. These cases may require persistence and patience, particularly if there was a hit and run. Sometimes it is possible to hold other parties responsible, such as an employer. We are dedicated to helping victims of negligent drivers. Contact us online or call us at 1-866-422-7222 for a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney. Our firm also represents injured people in Temecula, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and Riverside, among other Southern California cities.

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