I Was in an Accident Out of State: What Should I Do?
So you’ve been in an accident out of state and you want to sue the other diver. Under the typical jurisdictional and venue rules, you have a choice to make. The short answer is, you can file suit in the state where the accident occurred, or the state where the at fault party lives. You should consult with an attorney to discuss the best place for you to file suit. The decision will depend upon factors such as convenience and availability of witnesses.
Pick a Lawyer Close to Home
The Philbrook Law Office has successfully resolved hundreds of motor vehicle collision claims in Washington and Oregon, and has partnered with attorneys in Alaska, Hawaii, California, Iowa, Nebraska, Florida, and Missouri. If you are injured while visiting another State it is valuable to choose a lawyer who is close to home, who you can easily meet with, and someone who is familiar with your treatment providers.
State motor vehicle statutes universally provide that a defendant who is responsible for injury to others as the result of a car accident can be subject to a lawsuit where the collision occurred. Motorists in effect avail themselves to each state in which they choose to drive. This rule applies regardless of where the parties may reside. The rationale for this rule is that the best place to gather evidence and provide easy access to witnesses concerning the facts of the collision will be at the place of the accident.
Statistics show that most motor vehicle collisions occur within miles from you home. So it stands to reason that both parties in a collision would not be visitors. If the Defendant is driving in his or her state of residence, then venue will certainly be in the place where the collision occurred. However, if the Defendant is a visitor to the state, you may also file a lawsuit against that person in the state of their residence.
This may make sense if the Defendant resides in a state closer in proximity to you than where the collision occurred. For example, The Philbrook Law Office recently represented a motorist who was injured in Montana by a driver who resides in Portland, Oregon. We filed suit in Multnomah County in order to avoid the logistical trouble that would have gone with moving both parties and all medical witnesses to Montana for trial. This decision helped us save our client a huge expense, and allowed for successful resolution because a significant barrier to trial had been removed.