Personal injury cases are generally heard in state courts. There are some cases, however, that can be tried in a federal court. But just because a case can be filed in federal court, doesn’t mean it should be. In the 30+ years I have been practicing as a personal injury lawyer, I have seen that the rules and limitations in Federal Court are generally unfriendly for injured Plaintiffs.
If you are the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit and the defendant files to remove your case to federal court, this is normally because the defense thinks there is an advantage in using the federal court system. In these cases, using a personal injury attorney who has experience in federal court is essential.
Which Court Will Preside Over Your Personal Injury Case?
In order for any court to hear a case, it must have jurisdiction – the authority to rule on a particular case.
Some courts are courts of general jurisdiction. This means they can hear cases on many different issues. Other courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and can only hear cases dealing with specific legal questions. A small claims court or a family court, for example, are courts of limited jurisdiction. Small claims courts can only hear cases where a small amount of money is at issue, and family courts only hear cases where a family law issue is being decided.
A personal injury victim in California normally files his or her injury claim in a state court of general jurisdiction. For example, if a victim is injured in Long Beach, the victim would file a lawsuit at the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles. The Superior Court is a court of general jurisdiction, and it presides over a variety of matters ranging from injury claims to breach of contract cases and more.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They can only hear personal injury cases that involve a question of federal law, or cases where there is something called diversity jurisdiction.
Most personal injury claims do not involve any constitutional questions. They also don’t arise out of federal laws, since laws protecting people from injury are typically passed at the state level. However, diversity jurisdiction may apply in injury cases.
Diversity jurisdiction exists if the plaintiff and the defendant are from different states, or have different nationalities. For example, if a victim is suing a foreign company for a defective product or is suing a driver from another state for causing an auto accident, the case could potentially be heard in federal court because of diversity jurisdiction.
There is, however, one other requirement for diversity jurisdiction to apply. The amount in controversy must be in excess of $75,000. This means that the victim making an injury claim must be suing for more than $75,000 for the case to be heard in federal court. Otherwise, the case would be decided in a California state court.
Getting Help from a Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
Your Injuries are Personal to Me
Determining what court your case is going to be heard in is just one of many issues which arise when you make a personal injury claim. Most people do not know technical legal details, and there is no reason for auto accident victims to try to learn how to navigate complex legal rules. I will take care of your court filings and other procedural aspects of your case so you can move forward with your injury claim without stress or uncertainty.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a no obligation consultation and learn how a Long Beach personal injury lawyer can help get you the compensation you deserve.
Bilingual assistance is available 24/7 and no client pays legal fees unless we recover compensation for you, so give us a call any time to learn more about how Long Beach personal injury lawyer can assist you.
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