Although the United States of America is one country, each state has its own laws and rules. Most of us forget that the legalities of one state might not be relevant in another.
Let’s dive into what this means for injury claims.
Suing In The State You Were Injured In
The first thing you need to be aware of is the state’s jurisdiction over your claim. The easiest way to confirm jurisdiction is to sue or make a claim in the state where the injury occurred.
It doesn’t matter if the company’s headquarters is in a different location, or if the person who created the injury isn’t from this state. As long as the injury took place in that state, the court should have jurisdiction over the defendant.
Jurisdiction is a legal term. It refers to the official power to make legal judgments and decisions.
Suing In Your Home State
You don’t necessarily have to travel to a different state to set up a lawsuit. After an injury, you may want to travel to your home state and get comfortable during your recovery. However, this resting moment shouldn’t stop you from suing.
To make sure you can sue a person or business while in a different state, the entity needs to have minimum contacts with your home state.
Minimum contacts is a legal term that means the minimum amount of connection the defendant has with the state. Each state will have a different requirement, but here are a few common ones:
- The company does business in your home state
- The person has a home in your home state
- The company or person has a contract that was created in your home state.
If you cannot find enough minimum contacts to anchor the defendant to your claim in your home state, you may need to sue in the state of injury.
Suing In State Or Federal Court
Once you decide which state you want to sue the defendant in, you need to consider whether the claim will go to state or federal court.
Federal courts deal with very specific matters such as:
- Dealing with cross-state claims of at least $75,000 damages
- Dealing with issues that involve federal law or your constitutional rights.
Most cases will go to state courts, but you may want a local lawyer to help you figure out which path you should choose. Lawyers like Brockman from https://brockmaninjurylawyer.com/ will be aware of how the state courts work and if your claim can be submitted from a different state.
Statute Of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time legal proceedings can take. The time starts from the date of the alleged offense.
Each state will have a different times scale, and each type of offense has a different times scale too.
For example, rape claims often have a longer statute of limitations than most other injuries, as it can take a lot of time before someone has the mental state to go through the courts.
Some states, such as Colorado, start the countdown once the injury has been discovered. For example, if a child had been beaten from a young age, and it resulted in brain injuries only discovered in adulthood, then the adult diagnosis is the starting time.
Depending on the state you claim in, you may have to find out more than just who caused the injury.
For example in California, automobile accidents need to include the defendant and the owner of the vehicle. The same goes for you too, you need to have proof that you own the car. Without it, the compensation may not go to you, but to the financial dependant of the vehicle.
Without proof of ownership, you may not receive compensation even if there is overwhelming evidence such as driving under the influence
Again, this is why it’s important to have a lawyer local to the area you are planning to sue. They will know what your rights are, what you can expect, and how the state laws affect your claims.
Because each state has its own laws, statute of limitations, and jurisdiction, you need to have a lawyer with you to understand how the changes affect your cross-state law case.
Normally the best option is to sue in the state where the injury took place, but depending on the circumstances, creating cross-state claims can be possible.
Check in with your local lawyers to find out.