Filing A Claim As A Victim Of An Out-Of-State Car Accident

If you travel from your home in Mississippi to another state, even if it is just across the state line, and you are involved in an accident, you might be unsure about your legal options. Regardless of whether the reason for your travel is a vacation or a business trip, if another party caused you harm, you might have grounds for a out-of-state personal injury lawsuit. Will you file the claim in your home state or in the state in which the injuries occurred?

You can only file a lawsuit in the county or state that has jurisdiction over the defendant and your claims. If the individual, business or other entity that evidence suggests was responsible for the incident that caused your injuries is from another state, the case will be under the jurisdiction of the state in which the incident happened. Although it would be most logical to file the complaint in that state, the distance might be inconvenient.

Injured Out-Of-State? When can you file in your own state?

Certain circumstances may allow you to pursue recovery of damages in your home state. In any case in which the other party has any contact with the state in which you reside, you might not have to travel to the state in which the incident occurred. Possible contacts with your state include the following examples:

  • Business contact — If the person who caused the crash was on duty as an employee of a firm or company that has any business contact in your home state — you may be able to sue locally.
  • Residential contact — If that person also maintains a residence in your state, that contact may prove enough to allow you to file in your state of residence.
  • Contractual contact — If the business or individual is involved in a contract with an entity in your state, or utilized any of the benefits or rights of your state, you might be able to file the lawsuit there.

Federal or state court?

Your next step would be to decide whether state or federal court would be the appropriate place to file the lawsuit. This typically depends on the details of the claim. Cases that land in federal court usually involve parties or entities from different states who have claims of $75,000 or more in damages, or they are lawsuits that involve constitutional laws, federal law, and other types of federal questions.

State court may be suitable for most cases that can be heard in federal court. However, making the right choices in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident could prove vital. Receiving answers and guidance from legal counsel in your home state may be the most logical step to take before proceeding with any legal action.