Do I have to hire an attorney in the city where I live?
What are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to hiring a personal injury lawyer? Can I hire an attorney if my accident was in a different state from where I live?
What you need to know:It is recommended to hire an attorney in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred, although not an absolute necessity.
Although most motor vehicle injury claims resolve without having to file a lawsuit, many do not. Very often it is at least necessary to file a lawsuit, and in probably at least half of those instances it may be necessary to go through litigation related procedures and/or hearings before resolving a claim, such as depositions, arbitrations, or jury trials. Filing a lawsuit before being able to resolve an injury claim is more common in products liability injury claims and/or claims against governmental entities.
If a lawsuit needs to be filed, it has to be filed in the jurisdiction where either the accident/injury occurred or the Defendant lives/does business. Different jurisdictions can have different procedural rules. The differences can be even more pronounced in a different State. Therefore, it is recommended that you hire an attorney licensed to practice in that State and with practical work experience in that jurisdiction. Such an attorney might also be more familiar with local resources relevant to investigating your claim (such as investigators, photographers, etc).
What if you're in another state?Of course, if you live in a State other than where the injury/accident occurred, an attorney practicing where the incident took place may not be familiar with medical providers and treatment options where you live (like finding providers that will treat you on a lien, which means they agree to wait for the case to resolve before getting paid). If this is a critical factor for you, you may prefer to retain an attorney where you live.
Be advised that if you hire an attorney not licensed in the State where a lawsuit would need to be filed, your attorney would have to then "associate" with an attorney that is licensed to practice in the designated/required State. By associating, your old and new attorney would retain joint responsibility for the case.
At Zachar Law, we routinely are asked to associate on Arizona injury claims for purposes of litigation. Likewise, we network with attorneys nationwide in the event we need to associate in order to file suit in another State.