Should I File My Lawsuit in State Court or Federal Court?
If you have been injured in a rollover car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. You can file a claim against the defendant, but in Texas, there are two different courts which you may be able to file your claim: Texas state court and federal court. When filing a claim you must have proper jurisdiction. This means that the court must be able to hear your case and has authority to give a ruling. If you file in the wrong court your claim will probably be removed to another court or even dismissed.
While dismissal does not bar you from correcting your mistake and filing your claim in the proper court, the time limitations on filing a claim can prevent you from refiling. Consequently, filing your claim in the wrong court could result in you being prevented from filing your proper claim entirely and you might receive absolutely nothing for your injuries.
Requirements to File in State Court
To file a claim in state court you merely have to have damages of $200 or more and establish proper venue. There are three possible ways to establish venue:
- The county where the accident occurred
- The county where the defendant lives or principal place of business is located
- The county where the plaintiff lives
So if your rollover car accident caused you to suffer at least $200 in injuries, our attorneys may be able to assist you in filing your personal injury claim in a state court setting. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Grossman Law Offices are very experienced in establishing a proper venue in state court. Proper venue is crucial to building a strong case and we may be able to help you in your rollover accident claim in state court.
Requirements to File in Federal Court
In order to file a claim in federal court you must meet one of two foundational requirements.
- Your claim can bring what is known as a federal question. Any time your claim alleges that a federal law has been violated, you are presenting a federal question. Federal courts have automatic jurisdiction over any of their laws.
- Your claim can also be filed in federal court if you are asking for $75,000 or more in damages and have diversity of citizenship. Diversity of citizenship means that the plaintiff and the defendant are from two different states.
So how do you meet either of these requirements in a rollover accident claim? Well, you may qualify under either claim depending on the individual facts of your claim. First, there is a federal law regulates the structural requirements of a car's roof. This law establishes a minimum standard for roof crush resistance.
If the automaker produced a car which does not meet this standard requirement to prevent the roof of your car from being crushed in a rollover accident, then a federal law has been broken. In this event your claim brings a federal question and the federal court has jurisdiction over your hearing.
Your claim may also meet the jurisdictional requirement by satisfying the second requirement. If you are claiming at least $75,000 in damages and you have diversity of citizenship you may file in federal court. It is usually fairly clear whether you have suffered $75,000 worth of injuries, the issue that is less obvious is the diversity of citizenship.
Diversity if citizenship requires that the defendant must live in a different state than you, the plaintiff. If the defendant is simply another driver who negligently caused the rollover accident, it might not be that complicated. If the defendant lives in Arkansas and you live in Texas, then you have diversity of citizenship and can file in either Texas or Arkansas. However, establishing diversity can become very confusing when a company or corporation is the defendant.
Citizenship for a company or corporation is usually determined by where the company headquarters are located or which state the company is incorporated in. So for instance if you are injured in a rollover accident in Texas by a truck which is owned and operated by a trucking company which is headquartered in Arkansas, then you will have diversity. Under this diversity of citizenship you could file your rollover accident injury claim in either Texas or Arkansas.
Establishing whether you should file in state or federal court can be incredibly difficult. You must make sure that you meet the minimum requirements for either court and your attorney must also be licensed to practice in both courts. Our rollover accident attorneys at Grossman Law Offices are licensed to practice in multiple states and federal court. We have been helping injured victims like you for 25 years and we are very knowledgeable about the various requirements in each court. To learn more about your potential rollover accident claim, call Grossman Law Offices at (855) 326-0000.