Should I hire a lawyer back home or in the state where I was injured?

When you are injured on vacation in Tennessee, you might be tempted to return home before seeking the advice of an attorney. You may be waiting because you are not sure how serious the effects of the injury are, have used a particular an attorney in your home state in the past, or simply want to enjoy what little is left of your trip. However, one of the best things you can do to protect your injury case is see an attorney before leaving the state.

Jurisdiction Laws Can Affect Your Vacation Accident Claim

Most courts require injury cases to be filed in the state where the accident occurred. Known as jurisdiction, these laws dictate where the case will be heard and who will have the ability to argue the claim. Each state has its own rules about where the case can be filed—and these laws can also dictate which lawyers can pursue the claim.

While a lawyer from your home state may be able to represent you, he or she may face complications due to:

  • Licensing. Attorneys are granted the ability to practice law on a state-by-state basis. In most cases, lawyers must pass the bar exam in each state in which he or she wishes to practice. For example, an attorney in Oregon may not have a license to practice in Tennessee. If you retain this attorney, he or she may be granted a limited law license to represent a client in the Tennessee court system for one case only. However, this may require the Oregon attorney to work with an in-house counsel—in other words, a local lawyer who can represent the client’s interests. If you may need to work with a Tennessee injury attorney regardless of whether you have a lawyer at home, meeting with one before you leave the state could strengthen your case.
  • Local laws. Even if your at-home attorney has the ability to represent you in a Tennessee court case, it does not mean that he or she is familiar with local and state laws. State statutes and penalties can vary widely depending on where the accident occurs, and a local attorney has a better chance of knowing which laws apply and what complications are likely to arise in your case.
  • Time constraints. Tennessee has an extremely short statute of limitations to bring an injury claim, and victims need to take action quickly to ensure that their cases will be heard. An out-of-state attorney may not have the same familiarity with Tennessee filing deadlines and state judicial requirements as a local lawyer, running the risk that your case will become invalid.

Our Tennessee injury attorneys fight tenaciously to get the maximum amount of compensation you need to recover—and we do not collect anything from you until after your case is won. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

John Griffith
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Nashville Personal Injury Trial Attorney