Could My Personal Injury Case Go to Federal Court?
A lot of personal injury cases can be fairly straightforward, ending with a settlement and never having a court date set. That being said, this type of law is very complex and in certain situations a personal injury case can end up being sent to federal court. This is not the norm, but it’s something you should be aware of.
On the whole personal injury cases tend to be heard in state court as they’re civil cases. That being said certain cases can be tried in federal court, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If you case meets the requirements for federal court, the defense may see this as an advantage. The reason for this is that federal courts tend to look less favorably on the plaintiff and may be less inclined to offer large amounts of damages. Cases in federal court also demand more paperwork and more hearings, which invariably cause the costs and the length of the entire process to grow.
There are several situations in which a case might be tried at a federal level, the most obvious being if it involves a question of federal law. This is not a common occurrence as most personal injury cases are determined by negligence laws. These vary and are based on that specific state’s law and precedent.
Diversity of citizenship is another reason a case may be taken to a federal court. This could happen if you’re in a car accident with an individual from a different state. In order for this type of case to be heard at a federal level, it must also involve $75,000 plus of damages. Even if this is the case, it doesn’t mean you should necessarily pursue the damages through this avenue. You’re still able to have your claim heard in a state court (unless it deals with federal law as well).
Whether you take your case to federal or state court will be dependent on the specifics of your situation. This is why its integral you get legal representation that specializes in personal injury, and can ensure you get the best result possible.