In the U.S., we have both federal and state courts. If you are involved in a car or motorcycle accident, a knowledgeable South Florida personal injury attorney can help you to determine which court would be proper to file your suit in. Sometimes the suit may start in one court and then be moved – referred to as “removed”- to the other.
The underlying facts of this case involve a motorcycle accident. The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when it shut off suddenly. This caused him to lose control of the motorcycle and he was injured. In the original demand letter, plaintiff asked for $275,000 plus “med pay benefits.” At the time the letter was sent, plaintiff’s medical bills had so far totaled $68,218.87. The plaintiff filed his suit in state court and the defendant removed the case to federal court. Now, the defendant is asking for the case to be moved back to state court. The case was decided by the Middle District of Florida, which is a federal court.
Here, in order to get the case moved back to state court, the plaintiff needs to prove that it is more likely than not that the amount in controversy is less than $75,000. This is the beginning of the suit and discovery (of evidence) has not been completed yet so the actual amount is not known yet. However, the court looked at the fact that the medical bills are already over $68,000 and that there are likely to be many more expenses and other kinds of damages requested. Thus, the removal back to state court was denied and the case will continue in federal court.
State Versus Federal Court
Typically, state law governs accident actions. Thus, the default is for most accident cases to be heard by the state court. However, in cases where the amount of the claim is $15,000 or less, the case can be heard in county court.
Federal courts generally take cases that involve federal law. Federal law involves constitutional questions or other topics that the federal government has decided are more suited for them. As noted above though, personal injury claims are generally based in state law. Another way to get into state court is through diversity jurisdiction. Diversity jurisdiction means that the plaintiff and the defendant are from different states. Federal courts will hear cases where the parties are based in different states as long as the amount in controversy is more than $75,000.
No matter what court the suit is brought in, the same substantive law will apply. In accident cases it is almost always state law that will be applied. There are a number of reasons why a party would prefer one court to the other. Sometimes it involves convenience. Another reason that a party would prefer one court over another is that the judge may be more favorable towards their side in one court or another. There also may be procedural or other factors that will influence the decision. The only people who have the knowledge and experience to know which court to use (if there is a choice), are skilled Florida personal injury attorneys.
Contact an Experienced South Florida Car Accident Attorney Today!
Choosing the right court is important. The knowledgeable South Florida motorcycle accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston have experience in these matters to help car accident victims get the compensation they are due. Contact us by using the contact form on this website or call us at 772-266-555 or 561-299-3999 for a free and confidential consultation today!
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