Where are Cases Tried when the Motorists Live in Different States?

According to the Savannah Morning News (December 29, 2013 edition), two North Carolina residents were seriously injured when they were struck by car driven by a Georgia driver. The accident happened in Georgia. As someone who represents North Carolina clients, this case raises the question of where lawsuits like this can be brought. In cases where the parties involved in an accident live in different states, there are a number of issues that your lawyer will need to review.

State Court vs. Federal Court

Most accident cases are brought in a state court. If the plaintiff and defendants live in different states, though, it may be possible to bring the case in the federal court where the defendant(s) live or the federal court where the accident happened. One requirement is that the case has to be big enough for the federal court – for now, that means the case is worth $75,000.00 or more. There are many conditions and exceptions that an experienced trial lawyer will know.

Which State Court?

Accident cases can almost always be brought in the state where the accident happened. The case can also usually be brought in the state where the defendant lives.

Why it Matters Where the Case is Brought or Filed

Some locations (called jurisdictions) may be better for a plaintiff than others. For example, the statute of limitations in one state may be longer than another state.

Within the jurisdiction of a particular state, there may also be options as to where within that state to file the claim. That is most commonly referred to as “venue.” One venue may be closer to the plaintiff. One venue — and the potential jurors who reside there — may tend to favor plaintiffs. A skilled personal injury lawyer will, to the extent the law permits, try to bring your claim in the jurisdiction that is most favorable to you and your claim.


There are a number of potential complications that can arise when bringing a case against a defendant who lives in another state, including:

  • If there are multiple defendants who live in different states.
  • If one of the defendants is a corporation (for ex. a truck company) and the corporation does business in several states.

Attorney Joe Miller Can Help Accident Victims

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by another party, an experienced attorney can help you understand and navigate any potential complications that may exist in your case. At Joe Miller Law, Ltd., attorney Joe Miller has helped thousands of clients to secure the compensation they need after an accident, and he is ready to help you. To learn more, call today at (888) 694-1671.