Summer vacations can be exciting — especially when you have a chance to travel someplace new.
Unfortunately, vacations don’t always go as planned. If you end up injured in a car wreck while out-of-state on vacation, figuring out where to start your claim can be very difficult.
Understanding personal jurisdiction in a lawsuit
Imagine this: You’re visiting Manhattan Beach from Ohio for a family vacation. You end up in a wreck with another driver — who happens to be from Texas. You’re seriously injured and the other driver is at fault.
It would be far more convenient for you if you could pursue a lawsuit back in your home state of Ohio — but that’s not really an option unless the other driver consents to have the case heard in Ohio’s courts.
In order to hear a lawsuit, a court must have personal jurisdiction over the defendant — meaning the court must have the right to make and enforce a judgment in the case. Generally, you can only press your claim over a car accident:
- In the state where the accident occurred
- In the state where the defendant resides
That essentially gives you the choice between filing a claim in either California or Texas — neither of which is very convenient if you happen to live in Ohio. Knowing that, it may be wise to look carefully at the laws regarding personal injuries and how damages are calculated or limited prior to making your decision because there can be big differences between the states.
The situation may not be as difficult as you imagine
There is some good news: The vast majority of car accident claims are settled through negotiations with the insurance company. Working with an experienced advocate to settle your claim before it goes to trial could be a great solution.