Where Do I Get a Lawyer if I Was Injured IN Another State?
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Accidents do not always happen while you are at home in your own state. Sometimes, accidents can happen when you are traveling or on vacation in another state. If you were injured in another state, the process for filing a personal injury claim may be a little different than if you were in your home state.
Hiring an attorney may be beneficial to you to help you learn your rights and what you may be able to recover. An experienced attorney will be knowledgeable about the law in the state where the accident took place, and a compassionate one—like the Denver personal injury attorneys of Zinda Law Group—will have your best interests in mind.
which state will have jurisdiction?
If you were injured in a state other than your home state, you will be wondering which state has jurisdiction over your claim and where you can sue. Jurisdiction means that the state has the authority to hear the case. Two main factors will be considered: where the defendant lives and where the accident took place. Either of these places will have jurisdiction to hear your claim.
These two places may be the same if the defendant lives where they injured you, but they may be two different states. While it may be more convenient for you to pursue a claim in your home state, that is unfortunately not an option if your injury occurred out-of-state. Unless, however, the defendant happens to live in the same state you live in; then you may file a claim in the state the defendant resides.
Choosing where to file may be a difficult decision. The state where the accident occurred will probably be the best option, since any potential witnesses and other parties may also be residents of that state and can more easily be available in court. One of our personal injury lawyers can assist you with making this decision.
What If a Business is Involved?
Jurisdiction is slightly different for defendants that are businesses. If you were injured at a business or by an employee and choose to sue their business, you have two options. You may sue the business where they “reside” as well as where the accident occurred.
A business resides in every state in which they are incorporated as well as the one state in which they have their principal place of business. You may also be able to sue a business if they have made sufficient minimum contacts with a state, meaning if they conduct a significant amount of business in that particular state. This gives you potentially several options when choosing where to sue a business.
What If Multiple Defendants are Involved?
More defendants can make any case more complicated. However, when it comes to jurisdiction, it may make choosing a state to sue in easier. You may choose to sue the defendants independently or all together. If you choose to sue them all together, then you may sue in the state where the accident occurred or in any state where at least one defendant resides.
which state law will apply?
Once you have chosen where to file your claim, you will then need to find out which state’s laws will apply. Generally, your claim will have to abide by the laws of the state in which the accident or injury occurred. For example, if you are filing a car accident claim in New Mexico, where the defendant lives, but the car accident happened in Colorado, then the laws of Colorado will apply to your case.
Each state has their own laws regarding liability when it comes to personal injury claims. Each state has their own “fault” laws, such as comparative negligence rules, and different statutes of limitations. Using the two states above as an example, let us compare the differences to see how your case could turn out differently depending on which state’s law applies.
A Comparison Between Two Neighboring States
For example, Colorado uses a modified comparative fault rule; this means that your damages are reduced by any percentage of fault that is attributed to you. If you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault, then you will not be able to recover anything from the other party. Colorado’s statute of limitations, or the deadline, for filing a personal injury claim, is two years from the date the accident occurred.
New Mexico uses a comparative negligence fault rule. Similarly to what happens under Colorado’s rule, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to you. However, you may still be able to recover for your damages even if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault. New Mexico’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is three years from the date of the accident.
Should You Sue in State or Federal Court?
Even after determining which state to sue in, you may still have to decide between state court or federal court in that state. State courts can hear almost any case, but federal courts can only hear cases that fit into one of two categories. The first are claims between two parties that are “diverse,” meaning they reside in different states, with more than $75,000 in damages. The second are claims that involve a federal question of law, such as constitutional rights or a federal law, which is unlikely to apply to your personal injury claim.
If your injuries were due to a car accident, then one comforting detail is that your car insurance will cover you no matter what state the accident occurs in. Filing an insurance claim for injuries from an out-of-state accident will be almost the same process as if it occurred in your home state.
Filing a claim for your injuries after an accident in another state can quickly become very complicated. Contact one of our personal injury attorneys near you to help start your claim as soon as possible.
where can you hire an attorney?
Attorneys may only practice law in the state for which they are licensed. So even if you have a lawyer that you know back home, they may not be able to help you with an out-of-state case. It can be beneficial to you to hire a personal injury attorney in the state that you were injured in, especially if you have major injuries or if your case is complicated. A local lawyer will know their state’s law the best and can help walk you through the steps of the case.
steps to take after an injury in another state
If you are in another state when an accident occurs, try to remain calm. Call the police immediately or 911 if you or anyone is injured, and be sure to report the accident to whatever authority is in charge. If you were in a grocery store and suffered a slip and fall accident, for example, speak with the supervisor or manager and notify them of your injury.
Collect as much information as possible; this is especially true if you are not in your home state. The state you are in may be far away from your home state and you may not be able to return as easily to gather more evidence. Take photographs at the scene and request any accident reports.
If you are injured, go to a local hospital nearby to assess your injuries; be sure to ask for copies of all your health care records while you are there. Once you are well enough, contact a local attorney for legal advice and how to proceed with a claim. Each personal injury case is unique and will require a tailored approach.
Other Factors to Keep in Mind
One factor to keep in mind is that the other party may choose to move the case to a jurisdiction closer to them; you may also be able to file a motion requesting a closer court that is more convenient for you, especially if your injuries are so severe that travel would be extremely difficult. Additionally, if you file a case in state court but the defendant is from a different state than you and there are over $75,000 in alleged damages, the defendant may be able to successfully move the case to federal court. Speak with one of our attorneys today to take the correct steps towards a resolution for your case.
Get Help from a personal injury lawyer near you
At Zinda Law Group, we can help you find the best personal injury lawyer near you as we are experienced and have handled many cases involving victims injured in other states. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys in Denver, Colorado. You will pay nothing unless we take and win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.