In many California personal injury cases, an injured plaintiff is seeking to bring a lawsuit against a defendant that resides in another state. This may occur where the defendant was temporarily in California when the injury occurred, where the plaintiff was in another state at the time of injury, where the defendant is vicariously liable for another’s actions in California or elsewhere (as in the case of an employer and an employee), or where the defendant manufactured a product out-of-state which caused injury in California, to a name a few situations. As an injured plaintiff in California, it may well be to your advantage to bring suit in a California state or federal court, but whether that court will have personal jurisdiction over the defendant is an issue that your attorney will need to prove. Here are several ways in which a California court will have personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant.
When the Injury Occurred in California
If an out-of-state defendant came into California and caused the injury (such as where an out-of-state trucking company causes a truck accident on a California highway), a court should find that there is jurisdiction over the defendant. If an out-of-state defendant never physically stepped foot in the state, but its product caused injury in California, then this will be a more complicated analysis which will look at, among other things, whether the defendant directed its activities toward the state and there is a connection between those activities and the injury.
When the Injury Occurred Outside of California
This can also be a more challenging scenario for a plaintiff, but here are a number of scenarios in which a California can constitutionally exercise jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant:
- Consent: If the defendant consents to jurisdiction in a California court, the court can exercise jurisdiction.
- Personal Service in CA: If the plaintiff serves the defendant while present in California, the court will have jurisdiction.
- Doing Business in CA: If the defendant is incorporated or registered as a business in California, a court will have jurisdiction. Even if that is not the case, a court can exercise jurisdiction if the defendant either has extensive, continuous, systematic contacts with California or the defendant has directed its activities toward California and there is a sufficient connection between those activities and the plaintiff’s injury.
The question of personal jurisdiction and specifically where you can bring a personal injury suit against an out-of-state plaintiff can be a complicated one, and an experienced personal injury attorney will address all such issues at the outset of bringing your case.
Get Help From a Southern California Attorney In Your Personal Injury Matter
The attorneys at The Kaufman Law Firm has consistently won six- and seven-figure verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured victims across Southern California. They will work with you from the moment you call to investigate your matter and build your best possible case for recovery. Contact The Kaufman Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.