Visitor Question

Vehicle Accident Jurisdiction

Submitted 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?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Kenneth,

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.

Learn more here: Auto Accident Claim Overview

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

Best of luck!


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