An auto accident is stressful. Add in the complexity of the accident happening during a huge occasion, like moving and you might feel like you will never get a handle on life after the accident.
Fortunately, you are not in this alone. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you navigate the murky waters of a complex car accident.
Where Did the Accident Happen?
The first questions we need to answer is: Where did the accident occur? Determining the appropriate venue for the claim is the first step in filing a personal injury case.
If the accident happened in Florida, then it is a much more straightforward case. In nearly all cases, a Florida driver who injures another Florida driver will be sued in Florida state court.
In some cases, such as accidents involving an interstate tractor-trailer carrier, the case must be filed in federal court, but the hearing and legal proceedings themselves will still take place in the state.
Out-of-state Motorists in Florida
Florida is one of the country’s premier vacation destinations, which means we see a lot of out-of-state and foreign motorists on our roads. These drivers are less likely to know where they are going, and they may be distracted while they are driving.
Some of these reasons may include that they are unfamiliar with their surroundings or there are distractions in the vehicle during a long road trip.
If you are injured in a car accident with a motorist from another state, Florida law gives the state personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state motorist.
What Happens If You Are in Another State?
Things can get a little more complicated when you are involved in an accident in another state. The person who files the lawsuit is called the “plaintiff”. The plaintiff sues the defendant – in a personal injury case, the defendant (or defendants) is the person allegedly responsible for the injury.
In our legal system, lawsuits are usually filed in the jurisdiction most convenient for the defendant. When a plaintiff attempts to file a lawsuit in a jurisdiction that creates an undue burden on the defendant, the defendant has the option to file a motion under the legal theory: forum non conveniens.
When a defendant files a motion claiming the forum is burdensome, the court must decide whether the case should be dismissed and filed elsewhere.
Courts consider several factors when making this decision, including:
- Where the parties live
- Where the evidence is located, including witnesses
- Whether the case creates a burden on the court
- How the forum will impact the case
- What public policy says about similar cases
In auto accident cases, the proper venue usually refers to where the accident took place.
For example, if you live in Florida, but you were involved in a car accident with a Georgia driver in Georgia while en route to your new home in Texas, you will most likely end up pursuing an accident case in Georgia.
Also Read : What To Do After a Car Accident?
Why You Should Work with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Venue and personal jurisdiction are just two issues in a long list of items that must be addressed in your case.
If all this sounds confusing, then you can see first hand why it’s important to work with an experienced lawyer in any type of car accident case.
An experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyer will know where to file, when to file, and which parties to include in the lawsuit.