Being injured in Chicago is complicated enough, legally speaking. Being injured in Chicago when you live in a different state can be very confusing. You should talk to a lawyer about your legal options in such a situation.
If you were injured in Chicago but do not live in Illinois, you can still sue for damages, but your case might be more complex. You can begin your case in Illinois, where you were injured. You might also sue the defendant in their home state if they do not live in Illinois. Under certain circumstances, you can file the case in your home state, even though that is not where you were injured or where the defendant lives. If you begin your case in another state, you may be able to return home while your attorney does the heavy lifting. If the defendant has fled to another state, your attorney can help you find them and bring them into the appropriate jurisdiction.
If you were injured in Chicago but live elsewhere, call our Chicago personal injury lawyers at the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 and set up a free evaluation of your claims to get started.
Where Can I File an Injury Case If I Was Hurt in Chicago But Live in a Different State?
An important part of the legal process is determining what court can and should hear your case. Not all courts are the same. Certain courts may only hear specific kinds of cases based on varying criteria. Generally, for injury cases, state courts often hear cases based on certain jurisdictional details.
File Your Case in Illinois
One option is to file your case in an Illinois court in Chicago. Courts may exercise jurisdiction over your case based on geographic location. Because your accident and injuries – otherwise known as your cause of action – arose in Chicago, an Illinois court would have jurisdiction over the matter.
There are pros and cons to filing your case in a Chicago courtroom. On the one hand, the people involved in the case, including the judge, jury, and court personnel, are more connected to your case because it occurred in their city. If you have a claim for significant damages, a jury might be sympathetic to your plight because they are familiar with where your accident happened.
On the other hand, it is difficult to file a lawsuit in Chicago when you live in an entirely different state. If you have a lawyer you normally turn to for help at home, they might be unable to assist you in this particular case. This means working with a lawyer you are unfamiliar with in a place that is not your home. Even so, our Illinois personal injury attorneys are well-versed in state and local laws and legal procedures and can help you.
File Your Case in the Defendant’s State
Another option is to file your case in the state where the defendant lives. This might come up if the defendant does not live in Chicago or Illinois. Getting the defendant to return to Chicago just to be sued might be challenging. Some plaintiffs prefer to simplify things and bring the case to the defendant. Even though your cause of action did not arise in the defendant’s home state, their home state courts may have personal jurisdiction.
Personal jurisdiction is when a court has jurisdiction over a case because of the parties involved. Generally, the state where a person lives has personal jurisdiction over that person. While the state might not have such jurisdiction over you, you may waive any jurisdictional issues when you file the case and submit yourself to the court.
This might be a good option if the defendant lives in a state closer to you than Chicago. It’s also possible the defendant lives in your home state, making the situation much easier. You might want to consider other options if the defendant is very far away.
File Your Case in Your Home State
Still, another option is to sue the defendant in your home state. This is often a more difficult course of action because your home state might not have geographic or personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Instead, you might need to establish sufficient minimum contacts the defendant has with your home state for the court to have jurisdiction.
Minimum contacts might include a whole host of connections the defendant has to your home state. Perhaps they work in your state or at least conduct significant business there. Maybe they own property in your state. Whatever the reason, we should try to find more than just one contact. Jurisdiction is usually based on multiple points of contact, not just one.
Can I Return Home if I am Injured in Chicago But Live in Another State?
When suing for injuries in Chicago, you may return home. You might have already returned home after the accident and are now seeking legal advice after recovering. You can contact our team in Chicago to handle your case while you recover in peace and comfort at home.
While your attorneys do the heavy lifting in Chicago, you might be required to return at certain points leading up to the trial. Certain pretrial hearings and possible settlement talks might require your presence. Talk to your lawyer if your injuries are severe and prevent you from traveling. In such situations, the court might waive the need for your presence.
Locating the Defendant for an Injury in Chicago When You Live in Another State
Getting everyone in the same court can be challenging, even when jurisdiction is not an issue. Reaching across state lines to exercise jurisdiction over someone is not a simple task, and you should talk to a lawyer about how to do so.
When you file a lawsuit, you must serve notice of the lawsuit to the defendant so they can respond and file an answer. If the defendant is in another state, serving notice is hard, as each state might have different rules about notice. Long-arm statutes are designed to allow people to exercise jurisdiction over people across state lines. Your attorney can help you identify and use these statutes to your advantage.
Contact Our Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Now
If you were injured in Chicago but are living elsewhere, call our Rockford, IL personal injury attorneys at the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 and schedule a free, private review of your case to get started.