When you’re on vacation, you just want to relax and let all your worries fade away. The fun comes to an abrupt end when you’re suddenly in a car accident during your getaway.
In this situation, a tourist or out-of-state traveler needs legal representation just as much as a California native. You’ll need a local lawyer who welcomes travelers and can help you understand local and state laws.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’re here to help you answer your questions from the perspective of an experienced tourist accident lawyer. Here’s what you need to know about being injured in an accident while on vacation.
Things to Know About a California Vacation Car Accident
Your legal representation for an accident in California should be from a lawyer who practices in California. Unless an out-of-state lawyer is dual-licensed in both states, they’ll probably be unable to help you with your case.
In terms of applicable laws, each state handles car accidents in its own way. Some states are no-fault states, which means insurance covers each person regardless of who holds fault for causing a particular accident. California, on the other hand, is a fault state where your level of responsibility for a crash matters.
California uses comparative negligence rules, meaning each person’s level of blame will be evaluated. You may hold 100% of the blame, 0% of the blame, or anywhere in-between. Any award you receive will be reduced proportionally by your share of responsibility. Even if you’re partially to blame, you can still make an insurance claim or start a lawsuit.
Generally speaking, insurance policies adapt to the rules of the state where the accident happened. As long as you had U.S. car insurance, your insurance should apply to a California car accident. A traveler from another nation might not have the same coverage, though. Check with a car accident lawyer to see what types of insurance coverage may apply.
How Auto Insurance Works in California
In an at-fault state like California, insurance company representatives focus on assigning blame so they can avoid making payments. In other words, the opposing insurance company will be hoping to pin the blame on you.
The state of California requires all drivers to carry liability insurance that covers property damage and bodily injuries. Many drivers carry only the mandatory minimum level of insurance, which might not be enough to cover all of your losses.
Insurance companies don’t typically place a high value on your non-economic damages like emotional trauma and loss of quality of life. They’d rather minimize the value of your claim. This is another reason why it’s so important to have an experienced California car accident lawyer on your side.
The Impact of California Laws on Your Case
Out-of-state travelers are sometimes surprised to discover how much their state’s laws differ from California’s. Your vacation accident might come to a very different resolution than one that would happen in your home state.
For example, California’s emergency doctrine might shield you from liability entirely. The emergency doctrine releases someone from liability when they are confronted with an urgent danger they didn’t create.
As another example, the California Supreme Court decision set a standard that auto insurance companies are only obligated to cover paid medical fees, not billed medical fees. This means you could end up with hospital bills and doctors’ charges that are above and beyond what the insurance company will cover.
These examples show the importance of working with a California car accident lawyer to understand your options and maximize the value of your claim. Your lawyer can help you stay informed and make the best possible choices.
Should I Hire a Lawyer and Start My Claim Now?
You can’t wait too long after your accident to decide what to do. The statute of limitations, or legal deadline, is two years from the date of the accident. If you don’t act by then, you’ll lose your chance forever.
Another reason to speed things along is to wrap up your case as quickly as possible. A car accident is a stressful event, especially when it happens on vacation. A talented California car accident lawyer can help you keep your case moving.
Being in unfamiliar territory is hard enough, especially when it involves a traffic accident. The team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help when you’re out of town and in need of legal representation.
We run a tech-enhanced law office that can digitize most of your experience, minimizing your need for in-person paperwork and appearances. This makes it much easier to handle an out-of-town accident so you can move forward with your life.
We Handle Your Vacation Claim So You Can Focus on Recovery
If you were injured in a car accident on vacation, contact the attorney team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of personal injury law, including car accidents during vacations. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. Call 877-380-8852 today for a free case evaluation.