Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld

January 21, 2022

Over $400 Million worth of case results

Awarded The Best Lawyer in 2024 by U.S. News

Nationally Recognized in Legal Community

A lot of your personal injury claim and personal injury case will depend upon what state or federal court jurisdiction you utilize.

Federal and state courts across the country differ in many ways. It is important to understand their differences and take advantage of their opportunities.

The following sections review original jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, and subject matter jurisdiction in a personal injury lawsuit.

These issues affect how you file your lawsuit in state or federal court. In turn, they shape your ability to recover and the extent of your recovery.

Most lawsuits and personal injury cases our team, the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, handle have jurisdictional questions with one or multiple defendants.

If you are in a car accident or other event in one or multiple states, contact us to establish an attorney client relationship.

We can help advise the plaintiff’s choice on what federal or state court to file in before the relevant time limit expires.

This will help you understand the topic of jurisdiction in state and federal court.

What Is Personal Jurisdiction in State and Federal Courts?

Before you file your file your lawsuit against a defendant in state court or federal court (trial court, circuit court, supreme court, etc.), you must ensure the court has proper authority to hear it. This principle is known as jurisdiction in federal courts and state courts.

There are two components to jurisdiction when you file a lawsuit against a defendant in state court or federal court: personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction. We will review them now.

Personal jurisdiction resolves whether the court has power over the particular defendant in question.

Here is how a plaintiff can establish personal jurisdiction in personal injury cases:

  • Is the defendant a citizen of the same state or in as the court (state court, federal court, supreme court, circuit court, etc.)? If you the defendant resides in
  • Is the chosen state a principal place of business for the defendant (especially if it is a business entity)?
  • Did the events which gave rise to the lawsuit transpire in that state? A plaintiff may have difficulty establishing jurisdiction if they occurred in different states.
  • Did the defendant have minimum contacts with the state? Here, a judge will see if parties did business in the state, had a physical location, or other things to decide on the jurisdiction claim.

Note, the court’s power (personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction) may slightly differ in state court versus federal court based upon state statute or federal law.

The plaintiff should review personal injury laws to see if they should file in a different state or try forum shopping for the claim.

Contact an attorney from our firm, the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, to see how you can satisfy personal jurisdiction in personal injury cases for all the parties.

We can review state law and federal law to see how you can fulfill state court and federal court requirements. In the next section, we review how you can accomplish the second part of jurisdiction: subject matter jurisdiction.

What Is Subject Matter Jurisdiction in State and Federal Courts?

Subject matter jurisdiction involves the court’s power (state court or federal court) to resolve the disputes in the case.

There are some topics which are inherently for federal courts, by law, including federal tax cases, civil rights lawsuits, and IP trials, among others.

If the matter is not a federal question and you intend on filing in federal court, you must establish diversity jurisdiction (or diversity of citizenship). Diversity jurisdiction means that 1) no plaintiff is from the same state as any defendant and 2) the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.

You can use state court in the alternative to the diversity jurisdiction (diversity of citizenship) of federal court. The plaintiff should review state laws and federal laws with their attorneys to decide which is best for them.

Ultimately, you may determine where to file your lawsuit based upon differences in procedural rules. You may also check how a state judge or federal judges will rule prior to filing personal injury cases.

Talk to an attorney about subject matter jurisdiction rules before you file a lawsuit. Attorneys can help you understand the authority of the judge and federal or state court under the law. This will help you proceed ore effectively against the defendant or other party (or parties) that harmed you.

How is Jurisdiction Different Than Venue in Federal or State Court?

When filing your case against a defendant, you must understand the difference between court venue and jurisdiction under law.

This knowledge could lead you to file in your home state or other state location (or even other states). Though they have many similarities, they are different and will affect your lawsuit.

Venue refers to the county or district where the court physically resides. This location and general locale (normally, it is a county) is known as your venue.

Defendants can make a motion to transfer venue. For example, they may do this if they believe potential jurors are prejudiced.

Under the law, a party to a lawsuit may also change venue for the convenience of witnesses. Speak to an attorney about what the laws of your court will stipulate as to county venue and transfer rules.

Filing a case and don’t understand venue or jurisdiction. Then, call us to talk to our attorneys about these court and county rules and how to convince judges in your case.

How to Pick the Best the Court for Your Case.

There are a couple of things you can do to check and see where best to file your case. This will not only set you up to satisfy jurisdictional elements of your lawsuit, but also help you succeed and recover.

Take a look at these with experienced attorneys and then set a full plan of attack for your lawsuit:

  • Review the procedural case rules for filing in your county.
  • See how judges have ruled on substantive issues in similar cases.
  • Compare both these things to how judges have ruled in other counties.
  • Analyze settlements and awards to see what recoveries were obtained in jurisdictions you are considering.
  • Determine how potential jurors may react to your case.

There are many things that go into selecting the best venue and jurisdiction for your case. With an experienced lawyer, you can carefully analyze all of these factors and make an informed decision.

The Key is Getting the Right State and federal Court Jurisdiction.

Filing in the right jurisdiction can make or break your case. If you go the wrong way, tough procedures, weird rules, or cranky judges can tank your all action.

This will remove any possibility of getting financial compensation for your damages: medical bills, damaged property, pain and suffering, and much more. Work with expert counsel from the beginning to make sure you go down the right path, satisfy jurisdiction, and win your case.

What if I am Wrong in My Jurisdictional Analysis?

If you incorrectly select the jurisdiction for your case, the defendant will make a motion to dismiss it. If the court grants it, you will be free to file elsewhere.

You will have wasted some time and resources, but you still have the ability to refile in a different venue. Of course, this assumes that the particular statute of limitations has not expired prior to your filing in the correct jurisdiction.

Our Lawyers Have Experience in State Courts and Federal Courts

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has successfully filed and tried cases for many personal injury victims in Illinois and across the country. We know how to handle jurisdiction and other critical issues that will arise in your litigation.

We try all cases on contingency. This means we don’t charge anything unless you get an award or settlement that you want. Find out what recovery may be available for you and your family today by calling us at (888) 424-5757.

Free Consultation (888) 424-5757
Scroll to Top