You may not realize it, but you may have a range of options in finding the best venue to file a personal injury claim. There are a number of things to consider in deciding where to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Normally, a suit will be brought in the venue where the incident occurred. Even there, both state and federal courts may have jurisdiction (the authority to hear the case). A federal court can hear a personal injury case when the claims arise out of federal law or statute, or where the parties are diverse (from different states) and the value of the claim exceeds $75,000. Where neither of these conditions are met, the personal injury claim must be brought in state court. Where there is diversity, even if a suit is filed in state court, a defendant may remove the case into federal court.
Aside from deciding whether to bring a personal injury claim in state or federal court, there may be times when suit could be brought against a defendant in another state or location. This may occur when a manufacturer or distributor (or other defendant) of a dangerous product is located in another location and significant events may have taken place there as opposed to where the injury took place. Why would a person decide to file suit in another state when an injury occurred at home? (or the converse, where an injury took place in another state, but where a claim may be brought in Louisiana) There are a number of reasons that could lead to this decision. First and foremost, different states have different time limitations in which claims must be brought or they are prescribed. For example, Louisiana has a one year limit to bring personal injury cases, but another state may have a two or three year period. This may allow for claims to be brought where they otherwise would be time limited in Louisiana.
There are other considerations that go into the decision of where to bring a personal injury lawsuit. There is a question of the jury pool that would decide the case. The experience of the judges, courtrooms and judicial resources may be an issue for very complex cases. The laws of the various venues and jurisdictions themselves may impact the decision of where to bring the claim as well. Also, the location of the necessary witnesses or material evidence will play a role in the decision of where to file. (Court’s have some real limits to the range of authority to compel people to appear at trial.)
The decision of where to file a personal injury lawsuit should be carefully weighed. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury, learn about your legal rights from an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney by filling out our free, no obligation case review form located on this website.