What Court Do I File My Personal Injury Case In?
If you, or your personal injury lawyer need to file your case in court, which court is the appropriate one? It is important to know that there are different courts in Massachusetts tasked with hearing different types of legal disputes. If a case is not filed in the right court, it can be dismissed.
Massachusetts District Courts hear cases that are valued at less than $50,000. They very recently used to only hear cases valued at less than $25,000, but the Supreme Judicial Court changed this jurisdictional amount. They hear all types of Massachusetts personal injury cases. If for example you had a car accident and suffered a back or neck injury that resolved quickly, then the District Court is where the case needs to be filed.
Superior courts handle all other personal injury disputes that involve more than $50,000 in damages. These are where more serious Massachusetts injury cases are litigated.
But the case must also be filed in the appropriate venue. If you slip and fall and want to sue the property owner for causing the accident, then the case must be filed in either the county where the accident took place, or where the property owner conducts business. If the case is not filed in the appropriate venue, it may be dismissed.
The rules are little less less strict for workers compensation cases in Massachusetts. Basically, these disputes should be filed in the branch of the Department of Industrial Accidents that is closest to where the injured worker lives. This court has branches in Boston, Lawrence, Fall River, Worcester, and Springfield. These are administrative law courts that only hear and decide workers comp claims.