Accidents can happen out of the blue and at any place, and when they do, you may find yourself confused, overwhelmed, and wondering how you can recover compensation for your injuries and damages. But what if you live in one state, say New Mexico, and are injured in another like Texas? Should you hire a lawyer from New Mexico or Texas if you are in such a situation? This article will explore the considerations and legal aspects of hiring a personal injury lawyer when you are involved in an accident somewhere other than your home state.
Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Represent You in Another State?
It is understandable to prefer your attorney representing you in an out-of-state case as it feels more personal and convenient. Actually, one of the questions many people ask is whether their home state lawyer can represent them in a different state. The answer is yes, but it is not as straightforward as it may seem.
An out-of-state lawyer can represent you in the state where you were injured, in this case, Texas, provided they are licensed in that state. However, if they do not have a license to practice law out of state, they must apply for a temporary license called “pro hac vice.”This Latin term means “only for this occasion” and allows an out-of-state lawyer to litigate a case even when not licensed in the state. However, in most cases, they often have to work with an attorney licensed in the state where the accident occurred.
Additionally, several states, including Texas, recognize an alternative to “pro hac vice” known as “reciprocity.” Reciprocity means that although a lawyer from New Mexico hasn’t taken the bar in Texas, they can still represent you in Texas provided they are licensed to practice law in another state and have been actively practicing law in their state for at least five of the past seven years before your application.
So, if you live in New Mexico but were injured in Texas, you can hire a lawyer based in New Mexico to represent you in Texas.
Out-Of-State Lawyers and Jurisdiction
Another crucial aspect to consider is which state will have jurisdiction. Jurisdiction means the state with the power to make legal decisions concerning your personal injury claim. In most cases, the law requires you to present a lawsuit where the accident happened or where the person who injured you lives. So, if the person who injured you lives in Texas, you will most likely have your case heard in a Texas court.
The Importance of Seeking Legal Help From an In-State Personal Injury Lawyer
Although you can hire an out-of-state lawyer to represent you in your case, there are several reasons why it is advisable to consider working with an in-state lawyer.
License to Practice
One of the reasons you should consider hiring a lawyer in the state where the accident occurred is because the lawyer is already licensed to practice where the case may go to court.
In-depth Knowledge of State Laws and Procedures
An in-state personal injury lawyer has deep knowledge of the local legal system, which can be invaluable in building a solid case and negotiating a favorable settlement. An in-state lawyer’s familiarity with local laws and procedures can work in your favor since they are familiar with and can anticipate the opposing counsel’s strategies and tailor your case for a win.
Another reason for choosing an in-state lawyer is that local lawyers often have solid relationships with other legal professionals, including judges, which can help set the tone for your case.
A local attorney can be readily available to meet and answer your concerns and appear in court on your behalf, making it more convenient for you.
Considerations When Choosing an Out-Of-State Lawyer
If you prefer hiring an out-of-state lawyer, there are some considerations you should take into account.
The cost of hiring an attorney may vary depending on the location. While many lawyers work on a contingency basis, others operate hourly or flat fee rates. Therefore, be sure to compare the rates when making your decision.
Familiarity With the Law
Sometimes, having an in-state attorney work with your out-of-state lawyer for your case is better. The in-state lawyer can provide invaluable insights during the process, ensuring a successful outcome.
While your case can be handled remotely, sometimes your lawyer may be needed to appear in the Texas court. If you hire a New Mexico lawyer, they may need to travel for those court appearances. This means you might have to pay for their transport, accommodation, and meals, which can add up quickly.
Get Excellent Legal Representation in Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas Today
If you have been injured out-of-state, the experienced personal injury lawyers at the Ruhmann Law Firm can help. We are licensed to represent clients in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Call us at 915-910-5600 or online to get started with a free initial consultation.