If you’re traveling during this 2023 holiday season, you have plenty of company. More than 130 million people in the United States plan to do the same.
Unfortunately, some of those people – possibly even you – will end up in car accidents far from their homes. If you’re traveling to or through Ohio and end up in a wreck, it’s important to understand how to manage this situation.
It’s all about jurisdiction
“Jurisdiction” refers to a court’s authority over a person and the subject matter of a case. Without it, the court has no ability to enforce its rulings. The vast majority of the time, lawsuits involving car accidents are most easily handled in the state where they occurred, since that gives the court jurisdiction.
That’s significant because every state has its own rules regarding negligence and liability. Ohio, for example, follows a modified comparative negligence rule that says you are allowed to recover compensation for your injuries so long as you are not more than 50% responsible for your own losses. That may be very different from the rules in your own state.
Just because you will probably need to pursue your claim in Ohio, that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck traveling back and forth to handle the issue. Most car accident claims are settled through negotiations with the insurance company involved, and those can be handled remotely. If your case does proceed to a trial, however, you may need to return to the area.
An out-of-state car accident claim won’t necessarily be more complicated to settle than one related to a wreck right near your home, but your interests should be protected. Obtaining legal guidance in the same jurisdiction where your accident occurred can help you better understand the claims or court process and what to expect.