“What If I Get in a Car Accident With an Out-of-State Driver in North Carolina?”
From the Outer Banks to the Great Smoky Mountains and beyond, the many treasures of North Carolina attract numerous visitors from Virginia, South Carolina, Washington DC, and elsewhere. Out-of-state drivers were involved in 6.9% of all reported crashes in 2018 in North Carolina. While this percentage is relatively small, accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
If a driver from outside North Carolina caused your accident, you may be wondering if you can file a lawsuit and whether your state laws or their state laws govern legal proceedings. Consultations with a car accident lawyer are always FREE at Riddle & Brantley, so you can only benefit by calling to explore your legal options if you find yourself in such a situation.
Call us today at 1-800-525-7111 or use the easy form below and let’s see how we can help!
As always, there is no cost for the consultation and we don’t get paid unless you do. There are no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Please call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your claim.
Can you file a car accident lawsuit against someone with out-of-state plates in North Carolina?
Yes, you can file a car accident lawsuit against someone from out of state.
Few car accidents are true “accidents.” In the vast majority of cases, someone made a wrong choice that directly caused the collision, whether it was speeding, texting behind the wheel, driving while intoxicated, or failing to yield the right of way.
The State of North Carolina follows the law of contributory negligence, which is a stricter standard than used in most other states. In North Carolina, a plaintiff may NOT sue for damages if he or she was partially at fault for causing the accident. By contrast, states that follow a comparative negligence doctrine would allow a reduced recovery based on the plaintiff’s ascribed percentage of negligence.
Therefore, if you plan on filing a car accident lawsuit in North Carolina for a crash that occurred through no fault of your own, it’s important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who will protect your reputation from harm and your claim from summary dismissal.
Where should you file the lawsuit?
Unlike a business liability lawsuit, which generally gets filed in the defendant’s place of residence, a motor vehicle accident lawsuit should be filed in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. This may be different than where the plaintiff or defendant lives. Any claims for damages would be subject to local personal injury laws.
So, if you are injured an accident caused by an out-of-state driver, you would file your lawsuit in North Carolina.
Which statute of limitations applies?
In most cases, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within three years from the date of the accident. This is a longer timeframe than many other states. For instance, in neighboring Tennessee, claimants have just one year to file a lawsuit. In Virginia, they have two. South Carolina and Maryland have three-year filing deadlines like we do. In death cases, the time period is just two years.
To repeat: lawsuits for local car accidents are filed in accordance with North Carolina law (three-year window to file, in general), even if the other driver is from out of state.
How else might the driver’s out-of-state status affect a claim?
Different states enforce varying mandatory levels of auto insurance. North Carolina requires $30,000 per person for bodily injury liability, $60,000 aggregate bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage coverage. Motorists may carry $50,000 or $100,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In some cases, coverages may be in excess of $300,000, 500,000 or even $1,000,000 for liability or underinsured coverage.
These limits can be higher or lower in Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland. Other states require varying levels of coverage.
If you get into an accident with someone from another state, the policy will automatically be written up to meet our state’s minimum liability insurance requirement.
However, insurers are for-profit businesses, and, as such, they may try to minimize your injuries, lost wages, or pain and suffering to reduce their liability. Some states may cap pain and suffering damages, but North Carolina only limits the amount in medical malpractice cases. Having a personal injury attorney working for you will ensure you receive fair compensation.
Call a Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you were in a car accident, call Riddle & Brantley for a free consultation to explore your legal options. Our lawyers can put more than 220+ years of combined experience to work for you.
For a FREE consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111.
For your convenience, we have offices in:
We also serve clients across all of North Carolina with virtual consultations. We can even come to you directly if it’s more convenient.
Our multi-million-dollar case results (see disclaimer below) speak to our success, as do the words of previous clients who have called us “diligent,” “professional,” and full of “care and concern.”
We will answer all your questions promptly and do our best to ensure you feel taken care of in your time of need. We work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing until we recover money on your behalf. Call 1-800-525-7111 today or use the form below to see how we can help!
*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.