Can I File a Maryland Claim if the At Fault Driver Was From Another State?
Experienced personal injury lawyers in Baltimore have handled cases where the at -fault party was not from Baltimore, or even from Maryland. This causes potential problems in a few areas. It might be difficult to have the person served with a summons and complaint, should that become necessary.
However, there may be a more fundamental concern in your personal injury case if the defendant is not from this state.
The concept of jurisdiction –the power of a court to hear a case, or its authority over persons or property- comes in to play. All Baltimore personal injury and accident lawyers have gone to law school, where they studied cases on personal jurisdiction, i.e. the court's authority over a person. Historically, a court did not have power over a person not physically before it or present in the jurisdiction. Over the last 75 years, that area of jurisprudence has evolved. Today, we have what are called "long arm" statutes, specifying that if a non-resident commits a tortious act within a state, and causing a car accident would be and example of a tortious act, then they are subject to the personal jurisdiction of the state courts where the accident occurred. All states, including Maryland have enacted similar laws, and the courts that have heard arguments about them have found, at least with respect to being physically present and causing a tortious act within a state, that the exercise of personal jurisdiction passes constitutional muster. Jurisdictional concerns are more acute where the accident occurred in another state, and the driver is from another state. Where the only connection between an accident and the state of Maryland is that the Plaintiff lives, here, suit may, and likely will need to be filed elsewhere.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 11/19/19.