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Where to sue in an out of state car accident

You were out of state for a business trip, vacation or family visit and got in a car accident. Now what? While you may already know that you are entitled to compensation when the other driver is at fault for the accident, this often involves going to court. Where do you file a claim when the accident occurs out of state?

Understanding jurisdiction

The main concern in this situation is about jurisdiction, which determines what court has the authority to handle the case. The proper jurisdiction may be based on the cause or parties involved in the case. When the accident involves people from separate states, it can get complicated to figure out.

Filing a lawsuit in another state

Generally speaking, you can file suit in the state where the defendant resides. This means that if you are a New Jersey citizen who is injured by a New York driver while in New York, you can file suit in New York. It is sometimes possible to file suit within another state via mail, but you will likely have to appear in person for hearings.

Suing a business in another state

If you happened to be injured by a deliveryman, truck driver or another professional driver, you may want to sue the employer. As with the situation described above, you can sue in the state where the business is headquartered. You likely will have to travel for hearings. Another possible route is suing based on minimum contacts. This means you can file in another state if the business conducts a significant number of activities in that state.

Why it matters

Determining the jurisdiction in which to sue affects where you will need to go for hearings. If the court can determine that minimum contacts exist and you can sue within your home state, you will not have to travel much. Jurisdiction can also directly affect the outcome of the suit, since the state in which you file suit may have different laws.

Jurisdiction is complicated. The rules differ depending on where the parties are from, the type of case, and where the claim occurs. Sometimes cases can be dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction. If you were in a car crash out of state, seek a consultation with a personal injury attorney to determine your best course of action. Legal representation can assist you in figuring out the correct jurisdiction and the statute of limitations regarding your case. While the situation may be complicated, you should be able to figure it out with the help of an attorney.

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