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Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyers & Illinois Injury Lawyers

Deciding Whether to Proceed in State Court or Federal Court in Your Aviation Accident Case

| May 29, 2024 | Aviation Accidents |

If you’ve been harmed as a result of an aviation accident, you may have a legal option for seeking compensation. To pursue your case, though, you have to make several decisions. For example, you have to decide whether to proceed in state court or federal court. The decisions made on matters like that may impact other things, like the amount of damages you seek. For helpful advice to these and other questions related to your airplane injury case, you should retain the services of an experienced Chicago injury attorney.

An incident and lawsuit from neighboring Missouri, reported by Inc., is an example of how all these pieces can fit together. T.H. was a passenger on board a Southwest flight from Midway airport to Branson, Missouri in 2014. The flight was supposed to land at Branson Airport, which had runways in excess of 6,700 feet long. Instead, the pilots landed at a smaller, county-owned airport seven miles away, which had a runway that was only 3,700 feet long.

While no one died or suffered physical injuries in the mishap, that does not tell the whole story. Air safety problems can cause more injuries than just concussions, broken bones, cuts and bruises and ligament damage. T.H., for example, after his Branson experience, “suffered severe mental anguish, fear and anxiety,” in addition to difficulty sleeping. In fact, his psychological problems got so bad that he had to be removed from another flight due to the severity of the panic attack he experienced, according to the Inc. report.

Even in the absence of physical injuries, these psychological injuries have the potential to create legal liability and allow the harmed passenger to sue for damages. Once you’ve decided that you should sue your airline for the harm you suffered, there are still many more essential decisions that must be made. One, for example, is choosing whether to sue in state court or federal court. As Inc. reported, T.H. asserted very clearly in his complaint that he sought, as damages, the amount of “$74,999.99 and nothing more.” The reason he chose that very precise number was because suing for $75,000 or more can, by itself, give the airline the option to have the case moved from state court to federal court.

There are many reasons why you might want to proceed in state court as opposed to federal court. In T.H.’s case, for example, he desired to proceed in state court so that his dispute could be tried in Branson and decided by Branson jurors. The nearest federal court was in Springfield, 50 miles away, which would mean a jury that would likely have no connection to the Branson community.

On the flip side, there may be reasons to proceed in federal court. The notion that state court juries are always more receptive to injury plaintiffs than those in federal courts is something that is not necessarily true. And it may not make a geographic difference, either. For example, if you’re a Chicagoan who was injured by one of the Chicago-based airlines, your lawsuit will likely proceed in Chicago, regardless of whether it’s in state court or federal court. If your case involves some issue or issues that are technologically intricate or are legally obscure or novel, it may actually benefit your case to proceed in federal court as opposed to state court.

To make sure you’re getting the advice and counsel you need for your aviation injury case, retain the experienced Chicago injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our team has been offering our clients effective representation for many years and is ready to handle your case. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-724-5846 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

A Flight Attendant’s Broken Leg from an Uncontrolled Beverage Cart is Just the Latest Reminder of the Potential Dangers in the Air, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Aug. 24, 2018

Will Incidents of Unexpected Midair Turbulence Only Get More Frequent and More Severe?, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, June 11, 2018

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