Imagine you’re escaping the Arizona heat and headed north to Alaska. You’ll get more rays, sure, but it’ll be the midnight sun, closer to the top of the world. You’re looking forward to crisp evenings and majestic glaciers, leaving the desert behind.
Then imagine you’re taking a late night drive and bam— you’re hit by another car, driven by an Alaskan. Perhaps the other driver was drinking or failed to head traffic signals. Regardless, the driver was negligent. You’re injured, and you’d like to hold the person accountable.
But how do you, an Arizonan, deal with a personal injury case that happened in Alaska?
Proving recklessness and negligence in a personal injury case can be stressful enough without having to worry about basic jurisdiction. In most out-of-state auto accidents, figuring out where to file your claim is simple: the state in which the injury occurred is where you file your personal injury suit. In the case of our example, that means the claim would be in Alaska, because the accident occurred on Alaskan soil.
What if our Alaskan came to Arizona and injured you in an accident in your home state? Since it occurred in Arizona, you file the claim there. Even in a more complicated situation, such as if an Arizonan were injured in an accident by an Alabaman on Alaskan soil, the jurisdiction would likely be in Alaska. Regardless of the variations, these examples have one thing in common: where the accident originally occurred is the easiest place to file.
While this makes understanding jurisdiction easier, complications can still arise. For instance, if you filed the suit in Alaska, you will have to travel there for court appearances, a frustrating inconvenience. Avoiding this takes special circumstances, such as establishing that the person responsible had “minimum contacts” with the state of Arizona to hold jurisdiction there.
Minimum contact simply means there must be enough connection to a state for it to have jurisdiction. To build on our earlier example, if you were injured in Alaska by a truck driver representing a business, you might be able to prove minimum contacts if the business has a branch or office in Arizona. Minimum contact for a state can include business branches, stores, or other facilities located there, and individuals who do business, own a residence, or spend enough of their time in that state.
In the end, there are a lot of details that factor into jurisdiction in an out-of-state personal injury claim. But rest assured, Bellah Perez’s personal injury attorneys can establish the ideal place to file your claim. The goal is to get you compensation for injuries suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence. Whether the accident happened in Alaska, Alabama, or Arizona, our lawyers fight for you to receive the damages you deserve. Don’t delay — call Bellah Perez, PLLC today at (602) 252-9937.
Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.