Philadelphia is a travel hub for many of the big cities on the East Coast. A quick train or bus ride can get you to New York, New Jersey, Maryland, or Washington D.C., in only a few hours’ time. Many people rely on charter buses from major bus companies, or opt for discount bus rides from Chinatown buses or other curbside bus companies. If you live in Pennsylvania, but you are injured in a bus accident while on vacation or traveling in another state, who can you sue? How does a lawsuit like this work? The Philadelphia bus accident lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm explain how these lawsuits progress, and how you may still be able to handle your lawsuit at home.
Suing Bus Companies for Interstate Bus Accidents
If you are injured in an accident, you usually sue for damages in the court where the accident occurred. This would mean that a Philadelphia car accident is usually handled in a Philadelphia court. If you are injured in another state, you always have the option of filing a lawsuit in the county where that accident occurred. However, you may want to reduce your travel time and sue in a more convenient courthouse, especially if you are severely injured. “Civil procedure” rules often allow you to file lawsuits in different areas, depending on where the parties are from, where their headquarters are located, and where they do business.
If you used a local bus company, or a bus company that has some bus depot or headquarters in your home state, you may be able to sue at home. For instance, if you get on a bus chartered by a Philadelphia bus company, but are injured in an accident in New Jersey, you should still be able to sue in Philly. If are from Philly, the bus company is from Philly, and the bus initially left from Philly, a Philadelphia court may generally take this kind of case.
You can usually sue any party, whether they are a company or an individual, if they are “at home” in that jurisdiction. This means that you can always be sued in the courthouse in your home county. For transportation corporations like bus companies, you can sue them in any location where they have headquarters.
Lastly, courts often allow people and companies to be sued in courts in areas where they do business. If the bus company frequently picks-up or drops-off passengers in a particular city, the court may see that as a good reason to bring the bus company into court in that city. This means that if Philadelphia was the pick-up or drop-off location for your bus trip, you may be able to take your case to court in Philly, even if you were injured in an out-of-state bus accident.
These laws depend heavily on state statutes on legal jurisdiction, so talk to an attorney to understand your specific case’s options.
Suing in Federal Court for a Bus Accident in Another State
Another option for suing may be to use a federal court. The federal government has its own court system that runs alongside state courts. These courts may only hear cases that deal with particular subjects, or cases between residents of different states. In order to sue in federal court, you should have a lawyer that is certified to practice in federal court. Many of the lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm are indeed certified to practice in the federal court system, and have decades of experience doing so. In addition, you must satisfy these “diversity” requirements.
In order to take someone to federal court, you must be residents of a different state than all defendants. If a Pennsylvania resident wants to sue a bus company whose headquarters are in another state, they may be able to do so in federal court. These courts are able to reach across state lines and handle any case worth at least $75,000.
To file in federal court, you must still pick a particular courthouse that can hear the case. This is known as the “venue” of the case, and follows similar rules for filing in state court. This means that to sue a bus company from another state in Philadelphia, they must still have some connection to Philadelphia. If they do, your case can proceed in Philadelphia. If not, you may be able to move the case to another court without having to refile. In state courts, if the location is not proper, the case will be dismissed and must be re-filed from the beginning.
Talk to an attorney about filing for an out-of-state accident. Different cases may call for different legal strategies, and an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand the best options in your case.
Philadelphia Bus Injury Lawyers
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm fight to help injury victims recover compensation from the responsible parties. Our lawyers will work to get you compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you were severely injured or lost a loved one in a bus accident, call our lawyers today at (215) 246-9000.