Should you file your car accident claim in state or federal court?

If you have sustained damages in excess of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, due to the negligence of another person (or company) from a different state and the case simply won’t resolve without filing suit, you will be faced with the decision to file the suit in state court or federal court.  What are the factors you should consider in this decision?

Demographic makeup of the area within the federal district where the jury will be from

Some initial research that should be conducted should include recent verdict research from the county or parish where the state court case would be filed.  Compare that to recent verdict research from the federal court jurisdiction.  What types of reputations do juries from both courts have regarding the willingness to compensate victims of negligence?  The result of this research and the answer to this question should be major factors in your decision, along with the preferences for the potential judges and magistrates could possibly be assigned the case.

How your damages are calculated

Before opting to file in federal court, you should first determine whether it is a viable option for a diversity of citizenship case.  First, you should confirm that you have complete diversity from not just all Defendants but all potential Defendants.  Second, you should consider the makeup of your damages.  They should be at least $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.  Second, while many courts will provide some discretion in how the Plaintiff calculates its damages, you shouldn’t take a claim to federal court with $2,500 in medical expenses and $72,501 in pain and suffering, unless you are prepared to put a strong case on in a Motion to Dismiss proceeding.

It may ultimately be out of your hands if you want to keep the case in state court

It ultimately isn’t your decision if you want to maintain the case in state court.  The defense has the right to remove the case if it meets all criteria for initially filing the case in federal court.  You would still have the opportunity to challenge the removal, but if it is unsuccessful, you will be trying your case in federal court.

For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced Texarkana car accident attorney who has been involved in personal injury claims to juries for years.