What Happens if I Was in an Accident with an Out-of-State Driver?


There are additional considerations with an accident case involving an out-of-state driver. Do California insurance laws apply to these claims, or is the other driver subject to the laws of his or her state? What happens if the other driver does not have insurance?

Learn more below about pursuing compensation after an accident with an out-of-state driver.

California Laws and Out-of-State Drivers

California law gives courts authority over nonresidents, including out-of-state drivers, if the court uses that authority in a way that is consistent with the state and federal constitution. This means that when an out-of-state driver is involved in an accident, he or she can be ticketed under the same laws as a driver who is a resident of the state.

Out-of-state drivers are also required to follow the laws of the state they are in when reporting an accident. If the accident resulted in injury, death, or property damage worth more than $1,000, the accident must be reported to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The report to the DMV must be done within 10 days of the date of the accident.

Out-of-State Driver Requirements

Out-of-state drivers who visit California are required to have the following insurance coverage, according to California law:

  • $15,000 for each person injured or killed, or finances to cover $15,000 in damages for each person injured or killed in the crash
  • $30,000 for injuries or death to two or more people in one accident, or finances to cover $30,000 in damages for injuries or death to two or more people in an accident
  • $5,000 in coverage for property damage

Ignorance of California Laws as a Defense

Not knowing the laws that govern the roads of California is not a valid defense for out-of-state drivers. This means that you should never accept this defense when speaking to an out-of-state driver who caused a car accident. All drivers, including those from outside California, are to follow the laws that govern the roads of the state and can be held liable for an accident due to their negligence.

What if the Out-of-State Driver Does Not Have Insurance?

It can be challenging for a California driver to hold an out-of-state driver accountable for a car accident if the out-of-state driver does not have insurance. California does not require its residents to buy uninsured motorist coverage, but this coverage may provide compensation in an accident with an uninsured out-of-state driver.

Injured by an Out-of-State Driver? Call the Arnold Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a driver from outside of California, speak with an experienced Sacramento car accident attorney about your claim.

Call our office at (916) 777-7777 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.