Jurisdictional Issues in Greensboro Car Accident Injury Claims

In almost all car accident injury claims in Greensboro, if the crash occurs locally, that is where the case will be tried. crash1.jpg

However, there are a few exceptions. The case of Dogra v. Liles, reviewed recently by the supreme court in Nevada, is a good example. Although it’s out-of-state, similar jurisdictional issues have been presented in North Carolina courts as well.

North Carolina General Statute 1-75.4 holds that the state has jurisdiction in a civil procedure (such as a personal injury claim) when:

  • The plaintiff and/or defendant has local status or presence, such as being domiciled, being a domestic corporation or being an entity engaged in substantial activity in the state;
  • The action claiming injury to property, person or wrongful death occurred within the state;
  • The injury suffered was local, even if the act took place out-of-state;
  • The action involves local goods, services, contracts or property.

Relative to car accidents, most wrecks that occur in the state will be tried by local state courts. However, a defendant can ask to have the case removed to a federal court or dismissed altogether if he or she is an out-of-state resident on the grounds of personal jurisdiction.

For example, let’s say a driver from Indiana and a driver from South Carolina are involved in a crash in North Carolina. The South Carolina plaintiff could choose to file the action in North Carolina, where the crash occurred, but may find it more convenient to file the action in his or her home state. In this case, South Carolina’s jurisdiction over the Indiana defendant would likely be improper because the defendant has no contacts with that forum.

In the Dogra case, an injury-causing crash occurred in Nevada. The plaintiff was from Nevada, but the teen driver defendant was from California and was operating a vehicle that belonged to her mother at the time of the collision. The plaintiff filed negligence claims against both the daughter, for her role in the crash, as well as the mother, for negligence in allowing the daughter to drive.

The problem, however, was that the mother had never been to Nevada. Her car wasn’t registered in Nevada. Her car insurance wasn’t secured in Nevada.

The state supreme court there held that a non-resident defendant wouldn’t be subject to personal jurisdiction in that state when the sole basis asserted was his or her adult child’s unilateral act of driving his or her vehicle in that state.

Again, most of the time, jurisdictional issues in car accident injury claims are going to be straightforward. But you want to be sure if the situation falls into one of these gray areas that you have a legal firm that is prepared to recognize and appropriately address those issues.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Dogra v. Liles, Dec. 26, 2013, Nevada Supreme Court

More Blog Entries:
Uninsured Motorists an Unfortunate Risk in Carolinas, Nov. 28, 2013, Greensboro Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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