Vehicle Accident Jurisdiction

by Kenneth
(Portland, Oregon)

I was driving north on I-5, near Seattle, WA. I was traveling in the lane next to the HOV lane. The other driver was apparently exiting the freeway, then changed his mind, and re-entered the freeway. He lost control of his vehicle, and he came across 3 lanes of traffic and broadsided my class-B(van)RV on the passenger side.

He hit several times, tipping the motorhome over onto the driver's side; then the motorhome slid across all lanes of traffic and banged head-on into the guardrail on outside edge of freeway.

I am an Oregon resident, and the accident occurred in Seattle, Washington. If I need to hire an attorney, does it need to be one in the area of the accident? Or can an attorney from Oregon handle it for me?

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Vehicle Accident Jurisdiction":

The answer is - it depends. The other driver has not availed himself to the jurisdiction of Washington and therefore, to bring a lawsuit in Washington, you would not be able to obtain jurisdiction over him/her.

If, however, the other driver also lives in Washington (I know it's a longshot), then you can bring a lawsuit there. Assuming s/he does not live in Washington, you would need to bring a lawsuit in Oregon.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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