A blog by another lawyer recently caught my eye. It appears that a family lost their chance at a full recovery for the harm done to them in a collision because the lawyer they hired filed suit locally, instead of in a more favorable state.

You see every state has its own laws on how they deal with cases involving folks injured by the carelessness of others.The differences in the states are important because filing in the wrong state can result in dramatically different recoveries for the surviving family members.Some states limit recoveries to $250,000 or less (If you think that is too much money just pick which family member you would be willing to have run over by a tractor trailer, traveling in violation of safety regulations, knowing that this family member will die over several days… OK lets say it was YOU) and some states have no limits because they trust the people of their state, and their judges and courts of appeal, to award fair compensation for each individual case based on its merits. Some cases are worth more with greater harms and some cases are worth less. I suppose some folks trust the citizens and people of a state to use common sense, and some folks only trust the "one size fits all" approach you get in state capitals and Washington, D.C,

Generally speaking you can file in the home state of one of the defendants (the driver or the trucking company if different) or the place where the wreck occurred. If a lawyer fails to check all the places a case can be filed, and files in the wrong state, they are doing a huge injustice to their client. They are also committing malpractice. There is also a choice between state and federal court. Federal court tends to be stricter, and harsher on law breakers, a fact I find beneficial to most of my clients who have been injured by trucking companies violating clear safety standards.

A lazy lawyer simply files with the local state court, never checking to see if there is a better state, or court, to file in. I suppose I like the lazy incompetent lawyer more than the greedy lawyer. A greedy lawyer files a case locally simply because he does not want to split a fee with another lawyer (the fee split should always come out of the lawyers fee unless the lawyer is being hired in as an expert of some type), even though the client would get more money if the case was handled in another state.

Understand that defense lawyers are well aware of the differences in the law and often try to remove the case from the state or court where it was originally filed, into a state or court that does not protect its citizens at the same level. By seeking to move the case to another state and dismiss some of the claims, the trucking company is trying to limit its financial liability — not trying to spare the family from the pain of testifying or from some other altruistic motive. The injured family must still prove the trucking company was careless, and their other claims are viable in either state or court.

The Law Offices of Morgan Adams concentrates in protecting the rights of those who were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a serious accident with a commercial truck. Our lawyers are based in Tennessee but serve clients throughout the nation. If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt by a careless truck driver, don’t sign anything the trucking company gives you — contact us as soon as possible at 800-580-4878 or by email to learn more at a free, confidential consultation.

 Morgan Adams is a trial attorney licensed in Tennessee and Georgia. He is listed as a "2008 Mid-South SuperLawyer" (Limited to the top 5% of the lawyers in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas), is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (limited to lawyers who have recovered 1 million dollars or more for their clients), and is the Chair-Elect of the American Association of Justice’s Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. He has served as chair of the Tennessee Association of Justice’s Trucking Litigation seminars since 2004, and is a frequent speaker at national legal education programs, training lawyers to properly handle injury cases involving commercial trucks.