Deciding where to file a lawsuit is not an easy task. In fact, several factors are considered first before choosing the location. It is best if you consult with an attorney prior to selecting the location for your lawsuit, because an attorney is better equipped to select the right location based on the odds for a successful suit.
Initial Factors an Attorney Considers
The initial factors that your attorney considers include:
- Where the Injury Occurred: Your attorney may use the location of the injury and file within that county.
- Where the Defendant Currently Lives: If the location is unrelated to your residence or the defendant’s, your attorney may file in the county where the defendant lives instead.
- Where the Defendant Can be Served: Oftentimes, the defendant may reside in a county that is more “plaintiff-friendly” than the other options available. If this is the case, the lawsuit will most certainly be filed in that more favorable county. Philadelphia County is the most plaintiff-friendly county on the Commonwealth, so we always look for ways to legitimately file there.
These are not the only definitive questions, but they do play a role in picking the county wherein to file the lawsuit.
Choosing Between State and Federal Court
A lawsuit often qualifies for federal and state court, but there are some claims that only apply to federal courts and cannot be filed in state courts. Therefore, your attorney will determine if your case is strictly for federal jurisdiction or not.
In addition, your attorney will weigh certain factors when deciding between state and federal court filings. These include:
- Reputation of the Judges: Your attorney is likely to know the judges for both federal and state courts they consider. Therefore, they may think of the reputation of each judge overseeing those courts to decide which is more favorable to the client.
- Location of Court: Your attorney also assesses the overall location. Sometimes, it makes more sense to file in a state-level court because of the proximity to your attorney’s office.
- Statute of Limitations: State and federal courts have varying statute of limitations; therefore, if you pass the deadline on one, your attorney may opt for the other.
- Jury Pool: Also, the likely jury pool for your case will influence whether it goes state or federal. If your attorney feels that you have a better chance with the jurors for the state court, he or she may opt for that option instead.
Always Seek Assistance from an Experienced Attorney
If you or a loved one was seriously injured, it is important to hire an attorney. Finding the location for filing your lawsuit is only half of the process of starting a claim. There are many more steps involved – some that involve complex knowledge of Pennsylvania’s statutes.
After your injury, contact Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. to discuss your options with your lawsuit. Contact him now for a free consultation on his cell at 215-771-0430 or contact the office at 800-465-8795 Toll-free) or 215-987-3550 (local). You can also complete our online contact form and he will be in touch with you shortly.