In An Accident While Traveling Out Of Town: What Law Controls?

We are often called by clients who have traveled through the Atlanta area only to be the unfortunate victim of a third party’s negligence. Calls usually come from those in car accidents or tractor-trailer collisions. Sometimes a slip and fall is involved or a defective product. These innocent persons sometimes are hospitalized following the incident in Georgia and then sent back to their home states for follow up treatment. When they reach out to an attorney the usually are being overwhelmed with medical bills, lost wages and similar issues. They often do not fully understand which law controls their case. The answer is fairly simple for most all states in this country. The law where the injury and accident occurred typically will control the claim.
Even if a traveler is coming from California to Georgia, as an example, and is injured in Georgia, once they return to California, the claim is still governed under Georgia law. Almost all states agree that the law of the place where the tort occurred should control the claim. Thus, the California resident typically will have no choice but to hire a Georgia lawyer since their claim will be covered under Georgia law. While there are a few exceptions to this rule (typically in cases where public policy issues are involved) innocent victims from other states who are injured while traveling should understand that their claims will almost always be governed by the law of the place where their injuries occurred and where the accident happened.
In any case where an out-of-state victim is involved, obviously, it will be imperative that such a client locate the right attorney for their case. A good place to start is the American Bar Association or American Bar Association approved referral services such as Attorney Search Network. These ABA approved agencies can assist clients traveling out-of-state in locating lawyers in the state where their injuries occurred so that they can receive competent representation.
Our firm has represented individuals from all over the country. We have represented foreign travelers, Canadian travelers, California, New York, Ohio, Michigan residents and many other out of state residents who have been injured in our state. We have also assisted Georgia clients who have been injured elsewhere typically by helping them find appropriate counsel for their case in the foreign state. In such an unfortunate situation where a victim of a tort has to rely on the laws of another state, they would also be wise in finding representation in the state where their claim arose.

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