Vacation fun can come to a screeching halt when you or a member of your group is injured. Of course you’ll table your plans for the day and seek medical treatment – but then what? If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you have the legal right to file a claim with their insurance company or sue.
It can be tricky to know how to file a lawsuit, though. In order to bring a lawsuit against someone, you need to file that lawsuit in a court that has personal jurisdiction over that individual. Personal jurisdiction includes natives of the state or corporations located in the state, as well as those who have traveled to the state, are doing business in the state, or are maintaining a website in the state. If you are filing a suit against someone who was travelling to the state where you were injured – say, a businessman from Montana who hits your car while on a business retreat in Florida – you would be able to file a lawsuit in the state where they were travelling (Florida) or in the state where they are from (Montana) because both have personal jurisdiction over him.
In the event that the person who injured you is not from the state where you have filed a lawsuit, he or she can seek to have the case removed to federal court, so long as the damages exceed $75,000. The court will adhere to the substantive laws of the state in which the case was filed, but follow its own procedural laws. The reason this option is available to the defendant is to avoid any prejudice he or she might potentially encounter as an out-of-state citizen being tried in a state court. A defendant could also attempt to have the case removed to their home state, but this may not be approved (especially if most of the witnesses reside in the state where the accident occurred).
Being injured while on vacation may mean a temporary end to the fun, but does not signify a lack of legal options. Your legal rights to compensation for an injury resulting from negligence still hold, whether you are on vacation or not.