An Overview Of Accident Case Jurisdiction Issues

Law Blog

Before you file a personal injury case, you should confirm that the court has the authority to handle your case. A court's authority handle a case is known as jurisdiction, and it is a two-part concept. There is personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction. Below is a brief overview of the two.

Personal Jurisdiction

Personal jurisdiction means that the court has power over the person you are suing. For example, if you are suing a mall owner after a slip and fall accident, the court must have the power of the mall owner. That is the only way the court will be able to compel the mall owner to comply with the court's directives.

There are several ways in which a court can gain personal jurisdiction over a person. Here are some of the circumstances in which a state has personal jurisdiction over a person:

  • The person is a resident of the state
  • The person does business in the state
  • You serve the person when they are within the state
  • The person has some contact, such as business solicitation, with the state

In many cases, personal jurisdiction is a clear-cut issue. If there is doubt, however, then the court will have to rule on the issue before the case begins.

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Subject matter jurisdiction means that the court has the authority to handle the issue (subject matter) you want it to handle. There are different types of courts, such as federal courts, state courts, criminal courts, and civil courts, among others. Each of them is mandated to handle specific subject matters, and you cannot bring a case into a court that doesn't have the mandate to hear it.

Here are some examples of how subject matter jurisdiction works:

  • Criminal courts handle issues involving defendants charged with crimes (such as theft)
  • Civil courts handle disputes between people (such as a boundary dispute)
  • Federal courts handle cases listed in the Constitution and provided for by Congress (such as disputes between individuals and the federal government)
  • State courts handle all other cases other than federal cases (such as disputes between individual residents of the same state)

For example, if you are suing a foreign company for causing you injury via a defective product, you will have to pursue your case in a federal civil court. This is because it is the court that handles matters to do with foreign entities.

If you file your case in the wrong jurisdiction, then the court will reject your petition, and you will have to file it again in the right court. It's best to get the jurisdiction right the first time by consulting a lawyer before filing your case.

For more information, contact a local accident attorney.


10 September 2019

Noni and the Accident

My name is Noni. When I was in college, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life was never in danger, but I did break a few bones and had a lot of huge medical bills. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with an attorney, but unfortunately, it came down to that. I used a family friend who is an accident attorney to get some compensation. A few years later, I was hit while riding my bike and had to go through the same process. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive. And it's thanks to accident attorneys that I have been able to put my life back together. I started this blog as a way to let others know just how much lawyers can help you in certain situations.