Authored by Matthew Tievsky
When a car accident happens and a lawsuit follows, where the lawsuit will
be heard has to be determined. Maryland alone has 20 counties (including
Baltimore City, which is treated like a county), each with its own state
court system. Of course there are also other states, including the nearby
jurisdictions of Virginia and the District of Columbia. And then there
are the federal courts located in every state.
The choice of where a case shall be heard rests primarily with the Plaintiff
(who brings the lawsuit), although the Defendant has the right to ask
one court to transfer the case to another court. Even so, there are hard
rules on where a case may be heard. An auto accident case can always be
heard, and almost always is heard, in the jurisdiction where the accident
happened. For a Maryland collision, this means the county in which the
collision took place. Generally, the other alternative is the jurisdiction
in which any Defendant resides. (This may present more than one choice
if there are multiple Defendant drivers, or if a Defendant driver was
working for his/her employer, who is also a Defendant). This means it
may be possible to bring an auto accident case in a different county,
or even a different state, when the auto accident happens in Maryland.
We usually choose to file cases in state court. However, in an auto accident
case, the Defendant can generally get the case moved to the local federal
court if the Plaintiff and the Defendant live in different states, and
the case is not filed in the Defendant's home state, and the Plaintiff
asks the Court for an award greater than $75,000. In addition, when we
sue the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (also known as
Metro) when one of its buses hits someone, Metro always has the right
to move the case to federal court.
If you have any questions about where to file a lawsuit arising out of
an auto accident, you should contact the Maryland personal injury attorneys
at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.