A few weeks ago, a father and son from Iowa were traveling on Interstate 81 in Virginia when a 34-year-old truck driver from Georgia caused multiple vehicle crashes. A tractor-trailer truck was unable to avoid hitting the father and son in a Mercedes, and a chain reaction accident involving a total of five vehicles occurred. The father and son died at the accident scene. The Georgia trucker was charged with reckless driving by the Virginia State Police.
The conclusion of this tragic accident involves much more than vehicle property and casualty damages. Two innocent people died from serious bodily injuries because of someone else’s negligence. After dealing with the shock of the loved ones’ deaths, we assume that the next of kin will bring wrongful death lawsuits against the negligent truck driver. Questions such as “Where should the next of kin of the father and son from Iowa bring wrongful death claims?” and “Was the negligent driver a self-employed trucker or did he work for a trucking company?” should be discussed in the aftermath.
What Happens if You’re Injured Out-of-State?
It’s quite common to travel out-of-state if you’re on vacation, on business travel, or visiting a loved one. If you’re injured out-of-state or you’re killed in an accident like the example referenced here, where can you bring a lawsuit against the negligent driver?
What is Jurisdiction?
This question concerns jurisdiction, a legal term that refers to a certain court’s authority to consider a case. Jurisdiction might be related to the cause of the case or the individuals involved in the case. For instance, an accident that occurs within a single state’s boundary may be heard in that state. So, in our example, if the negligent truck driver was in Virginia instead of Georgia and he hit a father of son also from Virginia, the driver would face a lawsuit in Virginia state court. If other parties involved in the multiple-vehicle crash were from foreign countries, the case would be heard in federal court. It’s simple when everyone involved in an accident is from the same state. When an accident concerns parties from other states, the question is a bit more complex.
How Do I Bring a Lawsuit against Someone Living in Another State?
The individual filing a lawsuit is the plaintiff. The negligent individual or business is the defendant. In this example, the driver from Georgia has certain rights that may include where he may be sued. Although special jurisdiction rules may apply to a motor vehicle accident, let’s assume that the negligent driver wants to be sued in Georgia. In that case, the Georgia court has personal jurisdiction over its citizens. However, if the truck driver has a “certain amount of contact” with the state of Virginia, the courts might have jurisdiction over the driver. According to Code of Virginia Section 8.01 to 328.1, the negligent individual may be subject to personal jurisdiction in Virginia because business activity in the Commonwealth caused “tortious injury.” An experienced, compassionate personal injury law firm will always argue in the client’s best interests concerning jurisdiction and will aggressively fight for the client’s right to receive compensation and damages.
How Do I Sue a Business?
If the negligent truck driver from Georgia works for a large trucking business, the question of where to sue the business is an important one. Assuming the business’ headquarters are also in Georgia, the plaintiff will need to travel to Georgia for hearings involving the case. However, there may be an opportunity to sue the business in Iowa as well if it has a branch office in that state or even if the trucking business advertises there.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s negligence in or around greater Washington, D.C., you need a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Let The Abelson Law Firm help you. Contact us now.