What to do about an out-of-state accident?

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What to do about an out-of-state accident?

I followed another car through a yellow light. She slammed on the brakes and I rear-ended her car. No police were called. I have damage. What should I do? This took place in IL. I am insured in MI and she is insured in IL.

Asked on February 1, 2011 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, contact your own insurer--most policies require you to give them notices of potential claims by or against you. If you don't, you may forfeit your coverage. Also, if you collision, the easiest and quickest  way to get money to repair your vehicle is your own insurance.

If you want to try to sue the other driver, you can submit a claim to her insurer and/or file a lawsuit. You can try filing a lawsuit locally, but if the accident and the other driver's insurance are both in IL, it may be that the courts would feel you ultimately have to file there.

Note that you are more likely to be found at fault than the other driver--i.e. you're more likely to have to defend a lawsuit (which, if you have liability coverage, your insurer should do for you) than to recover money. That is because in accidents like this, the presumption is that the car in back is at fault. This presumption can be rebutted by sufficient evidence the rear driver did everything right, but it's an uphill slog for the rear driver; the advantage lies with the driver in front.


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