Personal injury Library

How Does Texas Law Work When I’m Hit by an Out-of-State Vehicle?

Texas Car Accidents Involving Out-Of-State vehicles

In case you haven't noticed, Texas is better than all of the other states. Because of this indisputable fact, people from all over the country travel to Texas, and the traffic on any given road, anywhere is the state, is largely out-of-state traffic. Naturally,there are a sizable portion accidents that occur between a Texas resident and someone from another state.

In such situations, Texas law applies, and if it comes to it and you must file suit, you would do so in a Texas court. However, most car accident cases are resolved out of court by carefully and strategically dealing with the insurance under threat of filing suit. Unfortunately, most insurance carriers don't know the first thing about Texas law (especially carriers for out-of-state drivers), so this adds some complexity to the process. Most people would be surprised at how many regional insurance companies have absolutely no idea how Texas law works. This can lead to low-ball settlement offers or an insurance company denying any responsibility to pay for an accident. In situations like this, the only way to compel an insurance company to pay for your damages is with the help of an experienced car accident attorney, like those at Grossman Law Offices.

Questions answered on this page:

  • Which states' law applies in a Texas car accident that involves and out-of-state vehicle?
  • How do insurance companies use confusion about jurisdiction to deny just injury claims?
  • What happens if the state the driver is from has lower insurance requirements than Texas law requires?
  • How can an experienced car accident attorney help you hold out-of-state insurance companies liable for your injury damages?

Texas law applies on Texas roadways.

One question we seem to get a lot when clients call us in these cases is, "Which state's law applies?" In other words, if an Oklahoma resident comes to Texas and causes an accident, do they get sued in an Oklahoma court or a Texas court? The answer is simple: when you come to Texas, you consent to live under our laws---and if you violate them, our rules and our courts apply. So, no matter where the driver was from, if the accident happens in Texas, Texas has jurisdiction.

This also means that Texas's insurance requirements trump the other states' when drivers come here. In our state, you must maintain at least $30,000 in auto liability insurance. Some states have less than that, including our neighbor Louisiana. You might think, and some insurers try to argue that the policy is good for the amount that the policy is written for, but the law is that if you have a minimum limits policy, it automatically jumps higher once you cross into our state.

One big problem these cases present is that out-of-state insurance companies don't know how Texas law works. We've even had insurance adjuster try to claim that Texas is a "no fault" state, meaning that the car owner's insurance is always responsible for damages regardless of fault for an accident, and that they're not responsible for our clients' injuries. Without a car accident attorney, how do you persuade the insurance company that they are wrong? Even if you track down the relevant statutes on your own and pass along that information to the insurance company, they can still choose to ignore you. It can be amazing sometimes how smug and secure a business can feel when they are on the other side of a state line.

However, with an experienced car accident attorney on your side, we will patiently explain to the the insurer that, no, that's not how Texas law works, and if they don't believe us, then call one of their own lawyers. If that doesn't work then we can always file suit. Being served with a lawsuit sometimes is the best wake-up call for "know-nothing" out-of-state insurance companies. That is another reason that it's always best to have a lawyer on your side from the get-go.

How we go and find negligent drivers who flee the state.

In a common scenario, a driver causes an accident and then heads back home out of Texas and hopes the problem goes away. Some law firms throw up their hands because it seems hard to go to another state to find the driver. Not us, we'll track people down anywhere in the United States if they have injured one of our clients.

Under Texas law and US Supreme Court precedent, we're allowed to use so-called "Long Arm" statutes to serve lawsuits on out-of-state drivers. If they do not respond to our legal papers, then here's the next few steps:

  • We file a "default" judgment in Texas state court, explaining to the judge that the defendant driver was properly served but never responded.
  • After a waiting period, the judge will grant our judgment and the driver will have effectively admitted they owe you the money you requested.
  • If the driver continues to ignore us, we'll take our judgment and "domesticate" it in their state by filing a motion with a local court. That court will then enforce our Texas judgment in their state.

We've done this many times over. Often enough, however, the driver's insurance company's lawyers step in and simply pay us once this process has run its course. If not, we press onward, until we have recovered all of the damages that our injured client is entitled to.

A special word about 18-wheelers.

If you've been hit by an 18-wheeler, there's a good chance that the driver is not from Texas. Don't worry, that's why we're here. We'll file a lawsuit not only against the driver, but also his employer. That way, even if the driver takes off to Mars, it won't matter. Under the doctrine of "respondeat superior," an employer is responsible for their employee's actions and unlike people, companies can't run away.

If you were hit by an 18-wheeler driven by an out-of-state driver, we have helped literally hundred of people recover damages from such accidents, while holding reckless trucking companies accountable.

Don't trust your car accident case to an inexperienced attorney.

Few things can be more frustrating than after recovering from an accident and fighting with an out-of-state insurance company to have your own lawyer tell you that they cannot hold the other party responsible, because they reside in another state. This shows a lack of knowledge of the law and inexperience on the part of your attorney. That is why you should only entrust your case to an experienced car accident attorney who has successfully resolved thousands of car accident claims for his clients, someone like Michael Grossman. If you have questions about your case, call us for a free consultation at, (855) 326-0000.

If you were injured in a car accident with an out-of-state driver, you may want to read the following related articles:

Prev Post Next Post