Can Someone Be Sued for Something They Did in Another State?

Suing someone is never an easy decision to come to. The one question that always arises is, “is it worth it?” After deciding the answer to that question, what if the person you want to sue is out of state? Courts only hold the authority to hear cases involving individuals who live in or are present in the state. If you would like to sue someone who lives in another state you will have to sue in the state where the person lives, not in the state where you live. You can often file a complaint by mail, but normally you’ll need to show up in person on court days.

There are exceptions under which you can use your state’s small claims court to sue an out-of-state resident:

  • Out-of-state residents can successfully be sued in-state if you manage to serve them with court papers while they’re physically within your state’s borders and if the dispute arose in your state.
  • A nonresident who has a vehicle accident in your state may be sued in your state’s small claims court no matter where that person lives.
  • The out-of-state owner of real property (located in your state may be sued here on claims relating to that property.
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