What if a State of Washington Resident is Injured in Car Accident in Idaho?

September 27, 2016

If you have been injured in the State of Washington or in Idaho contact us today for free, confidential, legal advice. We have been practicing law since 1948 and are licensed in both states.

Do I need a lawyer from Idaho or a lawyer from Washington?

Let’s say you are a Spokane Valley resident and you get into a car wreck in Coeur d’Alene.

The issue of where a case is heard if a Washington resident is injured in an Idaho motor vehicle collision is one of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is conferred by both the U.S. Constitution and the various constitutions of the 50 states. It involves the legal authority to administer justice within a defined geographical location. Since both Washington and Montana are states, each has its own defined geographical boundaries. Basically, you would want to speak with an Idaho car accident lawyer.


Jurisdiction is often confused with venue. Once it’s determined that a certain state has jurisdiction over a case, where the case will be heard in that state is a question of venue. In the context of a motor vehicle collision, it will usually be in the county where the accident took place.

Idaho is the place to sue

If the accident took place in a city such as Post Falls or Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is the proper state to bring a lawsuit in.

If the accident occurred in Montana, and you’ll be asking for administration of justice in Montana.

Complicated jurisdictional issues

It doesn’t matter if you can see Idaho outside of your back door in Washington. If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Idaho, take all jurisdictional doubt out of your lawsuit and file it in Idaho. There’s just too much to risk if you file it elsewhere.

Jurisdictional issues can get highly complicated very quickly. Decisions can depend on the type of case, where you and the defendant are from and where the claim arose.

If you were injured in another state, you should speak with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney from our law firm as soon as possible. Different states have different deadlines for filing personal injury cases. Don’t file in the wrong state, and then get barred from proceeding in the correct state. We’ll protect your right to compensation for your injuries and help you determine what state your lawsuit should be filed in. Call us right away after any accident for a free case consultation and evaluation.

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