Subject matter jurisdiction is defined as the legal authority that a court has to hear a particular type of case in relation to a specific subject matter. For example, a traffic court only has the authority to hear and make decisions regarding traffic infractions. Subject matter jurisdiction also directly relates to the circumstances and facts of your case and whether your claim should be brought to either federal court or state court.

How do I Know Which Court My Claim Will be Filed In ?

For the majority of personal injury claims the correct court venue would be that of state court. The federal courts only deal with matters that pertain to federal law. It is extremely rare that they would hear a personal injury claim, unless your claim involves a question of constitutionality. When dealing with personal injury cases, subject matter jurisdiction may be determined by the monetary value that is involved in the claim.

What are the Different Divisions of Courts Involved in Personal Injury Cases In Maryland? 

Maryland has four distinctive courts that hear and oversee personal injury cases. They are as follows;

Maryland District Courts: The district court hears only small claims from personal injury cases in monetary amounts of 2,500 0r less and larger. There are no jury trials in Maryland District Courts.

Maryland Circuit Courts: Each county in the state of Maryland has a greater court known as the Circuit Court. In cases above 10,000 litigants involved in personal injuries that are heard in this particular court have the right to try their cases before a judge or a jury, if the right to a jury trial is properly invoked. Therefore, cases of a more substantial nature are heard in Circuit Court.

Maryland Court of Special Appeals: This court hears cases from litigants who are dissatisfied with the decisions of the Circuit Court. As a special note it should be mentioned that litigants who are dissatisfied with decisions from District Courts must make their appeal to the Circuit Court in essence going up the next rung on the judicial ladder.

Maryland Court of Appeals: This is comparable to the United States Supreme Court in the fact that it only hears cases that it feels are important. As such, judges in this particular court have the power to turn down cases and are extremely selective in determining the size of their caseload.

What is the Difference Between Subject Matter Jurisdiction and Personal Jurisdiction? 

Regardless of which court a case is filed in, the court in question must have legal authority over the individual who is being sued. This is a necessary aspect of the law so as to insure another person’s due process rights are not violated by making them go to distant courts where they have little or no contact. However, in the state of Maryland the law dictates that the acts of transacting business, causing an injury, and contracting to supply goods or services all within the state are sufficient for the provision of personal jurisdiction

In order to better understand where your potential case may be heard if it reaches the trial stage, contact an attorney who can advise you as to the complex rules regarding subject matter jurisdiction. The attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan can assist by helping you to understand the specifics of your case and guide you in the potential options you may have going forward. Contact us at  (301) 589-2999. We look forward to working with you.