Do Personal Injury Lawyers Vary by State?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Although the basic principles of torts (personal injury law) are similar across the country, every individual state has its own code of civil law that cover these cases. A Colorado personal injury lawyer many not be of much help in a case over an accident that occurred in Iowa, unless s/he is also licensed to practice law in that state. This is one reason that some of the bigger litigation firms maintain offices in more than one state. A personal injury lawyer denver may have offices in Cheyenne, Albuquerque and Salt Lake City as well.
On the other hand, it is not unusual for a litigation attorney to be licensed to practice law in multiple states. However, in most situations, a tort case will be heard in the jurisdiction in which the cause of action arose. So, if you legally reside in Denver and were the victim of someone else’s negligence and this accident took place within the state, you’d want a local personal injury lawyer colorado courts would have jurisdiction.

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In the case of some product liability cases, the job of a Colorado personal injury lawyer can get a little more complicated. However, this and the establishment of what are known as long-arm statutes (International Shoe v. Washington State, 1945) has made it easier to bring suit against a business entity provided that the defendant does business in some form in the plaintiff’s jurisdiction. This means that while a Colorado resident may be injured by a defective product manufactured by XYZ Inc., s/he can retain the services of a denver personal injury lawyer.

Alternatively, the plaintiff could file suit in the state or location in which the defendant is incorporated. It may be advantageous to do if a particular state or jurisdiction has laws and/or precedence that would be more favorable to your suit. For example, the U.S. Fifth Circuit has a history of siding with large companies over individual rights. On the other hand, in more progressive states such as Washington, Oregon and Illinois, courts tend to favor individuals. This has led to a practice known as “forum shopping” among both defendants and plaintiffs.

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Colorado residents who are involved in motor vehicle accidents will most likely not the option to file a suit outside of the state state since vehicle insurance is a state-by-state issue. If the party responsible, or defendant is from out of state, it will be up to this person to respond and retain representation from a Colorado attorney. The only time that a “foreign” (out-of-state) jurisdiction might become an issue is if the defendant is a business entity headquartered in another state (i.e., you were hit by a truck belonging to an out-of-state shipping company).

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