By: Matthew Tievsky
The State of Maryland has two levels of trial courts: the District Court
and the Circuit Court. When you bring a personal injury lawsuit, including
an auto accident, you as the plaintiff generally have a choice of which
of the two courts to file a lawsuit in. But that depends upon several
If you file in District Court, the main disadvantage is that you cannot
obtain an award of more than $30,000.00. You should also note that District
Court cases are tried in front of a judge, rather than a jury, but this
isn't necessarily a good or bad thing. The District Court also has
some clear advantages. District Court cases tend to go to trial more quickly,
and the trial itself is much shorter (largely because there is no jury).
If you file in Circuit Court, there is no limit upon how much the jury
can award you. That is crucial especially if you have a serious injury,
such as an injury that will last the rest of your life. Cases will also
take longer before they come to trial, and trials themselves take longer
– days, instead of hours as in the District Court. Part of the reason
that Circuit Court takes longer is that there is more fact-finding before
trial, which can be to your advantage if there is a complicated dispute
over who was at fault for the collision.
Choosing which court to file your lawsuit in is a crucial decision, which
you'll likely need a lawyer's advice for. If you're faced
with that decision because you need to file a lawsuit, you should contact
the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.