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Road trips are a staple of summer life in the U.S. and in 2018, nearly 39% of vacations were taken by car rather than by plane or train. While everyone intends to have a great vacation and return home safe and sound, the reality is that 4.5 million people are involved in motor vehicle crashes every year. If you live in Texas and get in a wreck in Texas with a Texas resident, then typically Texas courts will have jurisdiction over any legal proceedings necessary because of the situation. However, if you live in Texas but get in a wreck in a different state with a party who lives in the state in which the accident occurred, then the jurisdictional issues become more complex.
Why is a multi-state accident different?
Because the courts of a state must have jurisdiction over the situation before a legal matter can be handled in that state, it is important to understand how jurisdiction works.
If you live in Texas and have a wreck in Oklahoma with a resident of Oklahoma, any legal action will have to be taken in Oklahoma, but, if you live in Texas and get in a wreck in Colorado with a resident of Louisiana, jurisdiction becomes more complicated. In that scenario, Colorado could have jurisdiction because that is the state in which the incident occurred, but Louisiana could also have jurisdiction because that is where the defendant resides.
In situations in which more than $75,000 is at stake and the parties are residents of different states, or if constitutional issues or federal laws are implicated, then diversity jurisdiction comes into play. This means that the case could be removed to federal court. Such cases can be extremely costly, lengthy, and time-consuming.
Why do you need a lawyer in a multi-state accident?
As discussed above, jurisdictional issues become complex in situations when a person is involved in a wreck outside of the state in which they live. The jurisdiction over a case can become extremely important because the laws of some states may be more favorable than others in terms of, for example, the fault for an accident.
Your attorney will attempt to argue for jurisdiction in the state that would be most favorable to you and will fight to get you the best results under the laws of the state that has jurisdiction over your case.
What should you do immediately after the accident?
When you are involved in an out-of-state accident, you need to follow the same steps as you would if the accident happened in your home state. These include:
- Calling the police – it is incredibly important that you file a police report even if no one has been seriously injured
- Seek medical attention – if you have sustained minor or severe injuries, you will need medical attention immediately. Chances are high that you will not be able to visit your regular physician, therefore, call your health insurance provider for a nearby referral or go immediately to the nearest hospital emergency room.
- Contact your vehicle’s insurer – you will need to ask your insurance provider whether your policy covers such expenses as out-of-state repairs and towing. They could also recommend nearby auto repair shops
- Take photos and witnesses’ contact information – if possible, take as many photos of the accident scene as possible. You will need to capture the damages to your vehicle as well as any injuries on any passengers in your car. Collect the contact details of any witnesses to the accident
- Call a personal injury attorney from your home state – even though you might need to hire an attorney from the state where the accident occurred, it is a good idea to contact a reputable lawyer from your home state first. Apart from recommending you to a reputable attorney, they could also provide you with state-specific details that will help build your case. Thompson Law is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-LION-LAW to help you know how to proceed if you are involved in an accident in the state of Texas or beyond.
How can Thompson Law help?
Did you get into an out-of-state accident in Texas? Let the legal experts at 1-800-LION-LAW help you secure the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact us at 844-308-8180 for a free case consultation. If the accident happens outside our jurisdiction, we may be able to refer you to a reputable law office.