out-of-state car accident jurisdiction

Who Has Jurisdiction If You Get Into a Car Accident on Vacation in Maine?

One minute, you’re cruising down a scenic coastal Maine road with the windows down, and the next minute, your idyllic vacation takes a terrifying turn when a car accident leaves you with injuries and other damages.

We understand that being in a car accident on vacation is a stressful and overwhelming experience. Now, on top of healing, you face the question of which state’s legal system will handle your case. Adding the confusion of legal jurisdiction to your injuries can worsen an already difficult situation.

It’s vital to file a lawsuit in the right place so you can hold the right person responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Read on to learn more about car accident jurisdiction and the types of compensation you may be entitled to recover. 

Who Has Jurisdiction for an Out-of-State Accident? 

You may not be able to imagine much worse than enjoying a Maine vacation and suddenly finding yourself in a car accident. Beyond the physical injuries, confusion about legal jurisdiction adds another layer of stress.

The good news is that you likely have options regarding where you can file your lawsuit and out-of-state car accident jurisdiction.

In most car accident cases, jurisdiction falls under one of two main principles:

  • Place of the accident. Generally, the state where the accident occurred has jurisdiction. Therefore, your attorney will likely advise you to file in Maine to simplify the process. Evidence collection, witness testimony, and police reports may also be more readily available since it’s where the accident occurred.
  • Defendant’s residence. Another option is to file your lawsuit in the state where the at-fault driver resides. An attorney may advise you to file here if the accident happened far from your home state and traveling back and forth for court appearances would be a burden. However, remember that you’ll be subject to the laws of the defendant’s state, which could be more or less favorable to your case than Maine’s laws.

Additional factors to consider when choosing where to file include the severity of your injuries and the value of your potential claim.

An experienced Maine car accident lawyer can analyze the specifics of your case and advise you on the best course of action regarding jurisdiction. They can also navigate the complexities of interstate legal issues, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

What Can I Recover? 

If you choose to file your lawsuit in Maine, the state recognizes a variety of compensatory damages to help car accident victims recover financially after an accident. The court awards these damages to make a victim whole again after the crash, and they are divided into economic and noneconomic damages. 

Economic damages have a definitive financial value. They are objective and easier to calculate because you can find support for these losses in concrete and objective evidence like bills, receipts, and lost wages.

  • Medical expenses. These expenses cover all past, present, and future medical costs associated with your injuries, including bills from doctors, hospitals, ambulance services, therapists, medications, and any necessary medical equipment.
  • Lost wages. If your injuries prevent you from working, you can recover compensation for lost income during your recovery period. These damages include salary, bonuses, commissions, and other work-related earnings you miss out on.
  • Loss of future earnings. You may return to work but find that your injuries limit your ability to perform your previous duties and affect your future earning potential. 

Retain all copies of tangible evidence to help your attorney support your demand for these financial losses.

Noneconomic damages are more subjective and, therefore, more challenging to quantify. They encompass the accident’s pain, suffering, and emotional impact that can’t be easily assigned a dollar value.

  • Pain and suffering. These losses cover the physical and emotional distress caused by an accident, including pain, discomfort, emotional trauma, anxiety, and depression.
  • Loss of consortium. A spouse who loses the companionship, intimacy, and other marital benefits of a partner due to injuries is recoverable.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. Your attorney helps put a value on how your injuries have negatively affected your ability to engage in the activities you used to love. 

It’s important to note that the compensation you receive depends on the severity of your injuries, the impact on your life, and the specific facts of your case. Consulting with an experienced Maine car accident attorney is crucial to understand your rights and determine the full extent of damages you can recover.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

A skilled Maine car accident attorney offers invaluable assistance in pursuing your case and steps in as your advocate. Your lawyer helps in many ways, including:

  • Determine proper jurisdiction. It is crucial to determine the right state for your lawsuit. Your attorney will analyze the legalities and guide you on the best course of action, considering factors like the accident location, the at-fault driver’s residence, and the potential benefits of each option.
  • Gather evidence. Building a solid case requires meticulous evidence collection. Your attorney gathers police reports, medical records, witness testimonies, and other relevant documentation to support your claim.
  • Negotiate. Your attorney has the knowledge and experience to negotiate aggressively with insurance companies and opposing counsel, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Litigate. Should negotiations fail, your lawyer confidently represents you in court, presenting your case persuasively to maximize your chances of a successful outcome.

Don’t face the legal complexities alone. A Maine car accident attorney can ease your burden and fight for your deserved compensation.

Contact the Experienced Injury Lawyers Today at Mann Law 

When you suffer injuries in an accident, you deserve legal representation that has your best interests in mind. You shouldn’t have to go through this experience alone. The attorneys at Mann Law are here to help you through the process and allow you to focus on your recovery.

We are a Maine-based personal injury law firm run by women committed to doing things differently. We are invested in you and your case; you are never just a number to us. Our commitment to you is unparalleled.

While fighting tooth and nail to win your case, we pride ourselves on getting to know you, our client. Our bottom line is getting you what you deserve. Contact us today for a risk-free, complimentary consultation to learn how Mann Law can help you.


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Christiana E. Mann Christiana “Chrissy” Mann has specialized in civil litigation for 21+ years as a savvy and creative litigator, and she’s regarded as a fair, compassionate, and zealous advocate on behalf of her clients.