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Can I Sue Someone From A Different State For An Auto Accident?

With 8,436 of beautiful coastline, Disney World, the Keys, and other major tourist attractions, it is no wonder that nearly 95 million visitors come to Florida every year for vacation. Add to that the winter residents or “snowbirds” chances are you could be involved in an accident with an out of state driver. Also you could be in an accident with a driver who is a foreign resident. So how does that work when the other driver is at fault and is not a Florida resident?

When You Have Been Hit By An Out Of State Driver

If you have been injured by an at fault driver and they are from out of state or a foreign visitor you may wonder what your options are:

● Can you sue for damages?
● Where do you have to file your claim or lawsuit?
● Will they pay?

Fortunately, you do have recourse, but you will need the help of a skilled auto accident attorney.

Out Of State Lawsuits Can Be Challenging

In the majority of cases you can only bring a lawsuit in the court that has jurisdiction, in other words the one that has the authority to hear your case. It is common for a personal injury case to be filed in the state where the accident occurred. So whether you are a Floridian and the other driver is from New Jersey, or you are both from New Jersey, if you get into a car accident in Florida, you most likely will end up in Florida court. So, simply put. If traveling in another state, you are subject to that states law.

Where Do I Sue An Out Of State Driver?

Again, this too, can be tricky. Under the law there is a concept known as minimum contacts. Basically it is a test the court uses to determine if a person has voluntarily given a state the jurisdiction to decide the matter that concerns him. There are ways to “avail” yourself to the jurisdiction of the state. They include:

● State Of Residence: The law assumes that you will choose your state of residence. Therefore you are subject to the rules of your state courts.

● State Of Business: A company, such as an insurer, has to be licensed to do business in each state where they have a business. If they conduct business in your state, like buying or selling products; they are subject to that state’s laws and jurisdiction.

● State Of Recreation: It does not matter if it is on business or pleasure, when you visit another state you subject yourself to the laws of that state. So if a driver from Kentucky injuries a Florida resident they are subject to the jurisdiction of Florida.

Before You File A Lawsuit Against An Out Of State Driver

In order to sue another driver for personal injury in the state of Florida you must allege certain facts. These include:

● Duty: The defendant must have had a legally imposed duty to you. For example, when a traffic light turns red a driver has the “duty” to stop and allow the other traffic to proceed.
● Breach: You must allege that the other party breached that duty. By not stopping at the red light, the driver hit your car broadside.
● Proximate Cause: You must allege that the defendant’s breach was the direct cause of your injuries. By running the red light and hitting your broadside, you sustained injuries that put you in the hospital for a month.

If you can prove to the courts these allegations, then you probably have grounds for a lawsuit.

If you think you may have a legal case, contact the All Injuries Law Firm for a free consultation at 1-941-625-HURT or by filling out our online contact form. With over thirty years of serving clients in Sarasota, Port Charlotte, and Ft. Myers, we will work with you to identify all liable parties, and develop a successful case. We will work hard to help you get the compensation you deserve.