The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

In Which Court Should You File Your Lawsuit?

If you suffered an injury, you might be thinking about filing a lawsuit against the party at fault. But where should you file your lawsuit?

When you're dead-set on a gavel, you need to figure out which court is the most appropriate to hear your case. Here are a few things to think about:

How much are you asking for?

If you're not seeking much money in your case, you may want to file your lawsuit in a Pennsylvania small claims court. Small claims court lets you sue for an injury for a pretty small fee.

In small claims court, you usually represent yourself. But don't worry, there are ways for you to prepare for small claims court.

How many days has it been since the injury?

If it's been a while since you suffered your injury, you need to keep in mind the statutes of limitations. If you missed a state court filing deadline, filing in a federal court might still be an option.

Which venue is right for you?

If you don't need to go to small claims court and if you don't have a statute of limitations issue, then it may just come down to plain old preference.

Some attorneys try to pick the court that will be most favorable for their lawsuit. This practice is called forum shopping. Attorneys "forum shop" when they have an idea of how cases will fare in different courts.

Attorneys also keep in mind the reputations of judges and juries. Many attorneys think that federal court judges may be more forgiving than state court judges, or vice-versa. Jury panels also differ in views greatly based on whether it's a state or federal court.

It's also worth thinking about what's most convenient. For example, you may want to file a lawsuit in a state court just because it's much closer than the nearest federal courthouse.

Since you have a range of options, a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer might come in handy to help figure out what works best for you.

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