Importance of Location in Filing A Virginia Injury Case
In some injury cases where an out of state resident is involved it may not be clear where a lawsuit may be filed. With this in mind, the following is information on when a lawsuit may be filed in Virginia and when a company outside of the United States may face a lawsuit in Virginia court.
For more specific information regarding your case and where to file, call and schedule a consultation with an experienced Virginia injury lawyer today. An attorney can advise you of the strongest course of action and where you are eligible to file. Call today.
Suing Someone Outside of Virginia
Although you may still likely be able to file a claim, it does matter where the person lives. With that said, if you have serious injuries such that your damages are likely to exceed $75,000 and the defendant doesn’t live in Virginia and you are a Virginia resident and there is only one plaintiff and one defendant, the case will likely end up in Federal Court.
In this instance, defendants have a right to remove a case from state court to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, which essentially means there is $75,000 or more in controversy and the parties reside in different states. That would mean removing the case from the circuit court from Fairfax County, Virginia to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria.
You can’t just sue somebody in Virginia in order to get personal jurisdiction over the defendant. They are going to have to have some connection to Virginia. So either a business connection, or the course of conduct that caused an accident was on a Virginia Highway even though they have never been to Virginia before, those are all contacts with Virginia that would allow the exercise of jurisdiction over that person. If you were in an accident in California, and you are a resident of Kansas, and have decided you want to sue in Virginia, then you are going to have problems.
Suing An Out of Country Company
The United Supreme Court has had a lot of decisions on personal jurisdiction dealing with this exact issue. The minimum contacts with a foreign state are what is going to be most important. If a Chinese company is targeting Virginia residents and sending goods to Virginia, then it is pretty likely you will be able to sue in Virginia. This is a very fact specific inquiry that needs to happen. Just because you are injured by a company that is not actually in the United States does not mean you cannot sue in the United States. The venue may be more appropriate elsewhere than Virginia, but it is really going to be a fact specific inquiry.