Why Does it Matter Where I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Rutter Mills Law Firm

Why Does it Matter Where I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal Injury Info

Before you can file a personal injury lawsuit, you need to know that the court in which you plan to file has jurisdiction over the case. This means the court has the legal authority to hear the case.

Where to file your lawsuit is the first of many decisions you will need to make. Discussing your case with a seasoned personal injury lawyer will take some of the guesswork out of these decisions– increasing your likelihood of success.

When does a court have jurisdiction?

A court must have both personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction. The former means the court has power over the intended defendant. Subject matter jurisdiction means the court has the power over the legal questions raised in the lawsuit.

Jurisdiction is set by state and federal constitutions and laws. Some factors that can affect it include:

  • Relationship to the geographical area: A state court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a citizen of the state or company that conducts business in the state; a defendant that does not reside there, but is served with the summons and complaint within state lines; or it can be shown that the defendant has minimum contacts with the state.
  • Monetary amount at issue: A court can have subject matter jurisdiction over a case if the value of the claim meets the limits of the court or involves certain types of cases that the court is authorized to hear. For example, the state district courts have jurisdiction over cases in which the amount in dispute is at least $4,500, and they have exclusive jurisdiction when the amount in controversy is at least $25,000.

More than one court can have jurisdiction over a case so skilled personal injury lawyers make strategic decisions about which eligible court is the best to file a lawsuit.

Jurisdiction of state and federal courts

In Virginia, the district courts have general jurisdiction. However, if the amount in controversy is under $5,000, a plaintiff has the option of filing a lawsuit in the small claims division for a faster resolution.

When the lawsuit involves a federal question, it may be filed in a federal court. It can also hear lawsuits where the plaintiff and defendant are residents of different states and the amount in dispute is at least $75,000.

Contact us at Rutter Mills for a free consultation

When you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury, take the smart first step, and contact us. The personal injury lawyers at Rutter Mills are here to help you secure the compensation you need to be made whole. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

Contact a Rutter Mills attorney to speak about your case today.

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Dave suffered serious injuries in a car accident. The defendant’s insurance company tried to offer him a low amount so Dave called Rutter Mills. We took over dealing with the insurance and got Dave the money he needed to get back on his feet.

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After her car accident, Larena asked her father, a local stevedore, for his advice on who to call. He recommended Rutter Mills. Her team of car accident experts at Rutter Mills fought back when the insurance companies tried to deny her the money she needed to recuperate from her injuries. We took her case to trial – and won. When the insurance company filed their appeals, we beat them again – two more times! Larena got the money she needed and the justice she deserved.

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A devasting accident changed Levon’s life forever. The physical and emotional toll left him scared and in pain. When the insurance company for the defendant contacted the family, they made an offer that did not even cover the cost of the medication, much less doctors’ bills, and physical therapy. They knew they needed to talk to a serious lawyer. Rutter Mills took care of the negotiation so Levon could focus on healing.

When you’ve got a serious injury, you need a serious lawyer. That’s why we chose Rutter Mills.

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