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The Concept of Personal Jurisdiction in Florida Personal Injury Cases

Bringing a successful Florida personal injury lawsuit often requires more than just proving that the defendant was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. In fact, there is a significant amount of thought that must go into a case before the case is even filed. One concept that can cause a Florida injury victim’s claim to run aground early in the process is jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction refers to a court’s power to hear a case. There are two types of jurisdiction. Subject-matter jurisdiction refers to the court’s ability to hear a certain kind of case and personal jurisdiction refers to the court’s ability to issue judgment over a specific defendant. Most Florida state courts are of general jurisdiction, meaning they can hear a variety of cases, including Florida personal injury cases.

A state always has jurisdiction over those who are domiciled in that state. However, establishing personal jurisdiction in a Florida personal injury lawsuit involving an out-of-state defendant can be tricky, depending on the type of claim. In these cases, the burden is on the plaintiff to show that the court has jurisdiction.

Personal jurisdiction can be established in several ways. Florida Statutes section 48.193 describes several means by which a court can exercise jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant, including:

  • If the defendant commits a tortious act – such as a car accident – in the state;
  • If the defendant operates, conducts, engages in, or carries on a business in the state;
  • If the defendant issues an insurance policy covering a person or property that is located in the state;
  • If the defendant engages in “substantial and not isolated activity within this state.”

Clearly, accident victims in certain types of Florida personal injury cases can more easily establish personal jurisdiction. For example, those who have been injured in a Florida car accident or an out-of-state accident involving a Florida driver should not run into a problem with the court’s jurisdiction.

Other types of Florida personal injury lawsuits, however, can present injury victims with greater difficulty. For example, a plaintiff who is injured by a dangerous or defective product that was manufactured by an out-of-state corporation would have to establish that the company was subject to the power of Florida courts. This may be done by showing that the manufacturer carried on business or engaged in “substantial activity” in the state.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any type of Florida personal injury accident, the dedicated team of injury lawyers at Friedman Rodman & Frank can assist you in bringing a claim against the responsible parties. At Friedman Rodman & Frank, we have decades of experience assisting our clients to pursue claims for compensation against negligent parties who reside in Florida and around the world. We represent clients in Florida slip-and-fall accidents, car accidents, and in cases caused by dangerous or defective products. To learn more about how we can help you pursue your claim, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

What Is an Attractive Nuisance under Florida Personal Injury Law?, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 21, 2019.

Liability in Florida Sports Injury Cases, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 14, 2019.

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