You may want to hire a personal injury lawyer who is licensed in multiple states if you have a claim that involves parties who live in different states. Let me give you an example. A Louisiana resident is traveling through the state of Texas and is killed in an accident by a driver who lives in Texas. In this particular situation, you may have the opportunity to pick the state where you file your wrongful death claim – Louisiana or Texas. Usually if you have an accident in Texas and the defendant resides in Texas, you would have to file your claim in Texas. But if the plaintiff lives in Louisiana and one witness is in Texas and the other witness is in Louisiana, you could possibly file your lawsuit in Louisiana.
Generally speaking, whichever state has the most “contact” is where your claim should be filed. Contact includes where the defendant resides, where the plaintiff resides, where the witnesses reside, where the medical records are, and where the accident occurred. The goal is to litigate the claim where it is most convenient for the parties involved. However, there are many situations where the appropriate jurisdiction is not immediately obvious.
In a different situation, say — the car accident occurs in Texas, but the defendant driver is from Georgia and the plaintiff is from Louisiana — the case for filing in Texas is not so clear. In this instance, you would see where the witnesses live and where any medical records are located. If there is no clear cut jurisdiction, your personal injury attorney may have the ability to file the claim where it could be more advantageous for you. For example, there could be more beneficial wrongful death laws in Louisiana and your lawyer would file the cause of action in Louisiana. However, in order to identify the appropriate jurisdiction, your attorney needs to be familiar with the laws of all of the states involved.
These are only a few of the issues that may arise when you have personal injury claims involving multiple states. The important thing to remember is that if you have any type of multi state issue, you should contact a lawyer who is well-versed in the law of those states to determine the most beneficial jurisdiction for you. Our law firm handles claims in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas and if you are in an accident involving one or more of these states, feel free to contact us with questions about state jurisdiction.