Most personal injury lawsuits come about when a business or person who is negligent injures someone who lives in the same community or at least the same state. When this happens, the personal injury lawsuit is filed in the state court located in the county where the person was injured.

If you have a personal injury case, you should know that there are two distinct circumstances under which the personal injury case must be filed in federal court. There are also situations that allow you to choose whether to file your lawsuit in state or federal court.

Diversity of Citizenshippersonal injury

There are two components of filing a federal lawsuit based on diversity.

  1. The plaintiff and defendant are citizens of different states. This may also involve the citizen of one state and a citizen of a foreign country.
  2. The amount in controversy must be more than $75,000.

If the plaintiff and defendant are citizens of different states, and the amount in controversy meets the federal requirement, the plaintiff has a choice of either filing the lawsuit in the state where the negligence occurred or in federal court located in the state where the plaintiff lives.

The Case Presents a Federal Question

This means the personal injury case involves the application of federal law and the lawsuit must be filed in federal court. Some examples are:

  • You are suing the federal government for its negligence under the Federal Torts Claim Act. This includes situations like slipping and falling at a post office or being involved in a car accident with a driver who was on business for the federal government at the time of the accident. Lawsuits that involve allegations of medical malpractice that occurred in a federal hospital like Veteran’s hospitals must be filed in federal court.
  • Your injury occurred on federal property.
  • Your lawsuit arose from injuries occurring on a railroad, airline or cruise.
  • American workers who are injured at sea must file in federal court under the Jones Act.

It is important for you to consult with a Charlotte personal injury lawyer who will review the facts of your case and discuss with you the proper court for filing your lawsuit. If the circumstances of your case allow you to file in either court, there may be important strategy considerations that will determine the best court for your case. Contact Campbell and Associates, Attorneys at Law, for a free consultation.