Things to Know about Diversity Jurisdiction in Personal Injury Cases

Accidents happen when we least expect them.  Accidents often accompany damage to the property, medical expenses, and lengthy lawsuits. And when accidents involve jurisdictions of more than two states, personal injury lawsuits can become tricky. If you find yourself involved in any multistate personal injury case, it’s advised to hire a qualified personal injury attorney Virginia beach VA who has experience handling such lawsuits.

So, what is diversity jurisdiction, and how is it different from a typical personal injury case?

Let’s understand it through this blog.

When a person gets involved in an accident in some other state or gets into an accident with an employee who works for a foreign headquarter company, the case will be considered a multistate personal injury lawsuit. To simply put, if the plaintiff and the defendant involved in the case don’t belong to the same state, it will be considered a case with diversity jurisdiction.

Diversity jurisdiction falls under federal courts. The diversity jurisdiction especially applies to cases with compensation amount exceeding $75,000 in value.

Multistate personal injury cases are time-consuming and costly and involve lawyers from different states.

How are multistate personal injury cases different from other cases?

When two or more people are involved in a personal injury case, for instance, an auto accident where both the parties are from the same state, the process of filing a lawsuit for compensation is straightforward. The victim will find an attorney and sue the at-fault party for the damages.

However, a multistate case is complicated as it sounds. Suppose you are from Virginia and traveling by your car to some other state. There, your car gets rear-ended by another vehicle that is on his business from another state.

The police reach the spot, inspect the case, and report the accident. Since you have made minimum contact with the state by getting in an auto accident, you will have to file your lawsuit in that particular state. But besides this, you will also have to file a case with your vehicle insurance and health insurance companies where you live.

Now, you might think that you can file the lawsuit in your home state even if you got into an accident in some other state. Unfortunately, it’s not the case. Every state has sovereign power, including the ability to claim jurisdiction over the accidents within their border. Such sovereign powers are called motorist statutes, and every state in the U.S has one such power.

So, where do we file the case?

In cases where a person gets into an auto accident or other personal injury case in another state or jurisdiction, they will have to hire a lawyer where they live and the state where the accident has happened. According to the personal injury law, the attorney you have hired where the incident has occurred would be referred to as local counsel.

Why is there a need to hire so many lawyers in diversity jurisdiction lawsuits?

Lawyers are state-specific and are required to take separate bar exams to qualify as practicing lawyers. Since one state’s laws and rules are different from another, one can’t employ an attorney practicing in a particular state on a case that happens in another state.