It is not uncommon for people to allow other individuals to drive their cars. For example, people typically allow their spouses to operate their vehicles. If the spouse then causes an accident, the spouse and the owner could potentially be deemed liable for any harm that ensues. As shown in a recent Massachusetts ruling, though, a court must be able to exercise jurisdiction over both parties in order for it to preside over a case in a matter arising out of a car accident. If you were injured in a collision, multiple parties might be responsible for your harm, and it is prudent to speak with a dedicated Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your possible claims.
The Plaintiff’s Accident
It is reported that the plaintiff and his wife were residents of Massachusetts. The defendants are a married couple who live in Virginia. In September 2018, the defendants were in Massachusetts for the wedding of a family friend. The defendant husband was outside of the hotel with friends waiting for his wife to pick him up. The defendant wife, operating the defendant husband’s car, struck the plaintiff who was operating a motorcycle. He suffered severe and debilitating injuries, after which he filed a lawsuit against the defendants. The defendant husband moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against him for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction Over a Vehicle Owner from Another State
Under Massachusetts’s long-arm statute, a court can exercise jurisdiction over a person who, either directly or through an agent, causes a tortious injury via an omission or act. The plaintiff argued that the defendant wife was acting as the defendant husband’s agent at the time of the accident. The court found, though, that there was no evidence that would demonstrate agency.