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Miami Personal Injury Lawyer on the Federal Court System Hierarchy

Posted by admin on November 21st, 2012.

Miami Personal Injury Lawyer on the Hierarchy of the U.S. Federal Court System

As it is from the highest court in the country, any verdict made by a consensus of the Supreme Court’s nine justices cannot be appealed in any court. In other words, when these guys speak for or against your claim, it’s a done deal. End of story.

Is it the best place to file your personal injury claim (or any other claim for that matter)? Not so fast. A Miami personal injury lawyer will advice you that your claim cannot be automatically heard by the highest court in the country. You have to pass through the lower courts, and even then, as a next step, have to successfully appeal for the higher court to hear your case.

Why so many courts?

For quite obvious reasons, nine justices can’t simply handle thousands of cases in all 50 states. Besides, the justices have their hands full hearing up to 150 cases a year (out of thousands that land on the Supreme Court’s desk a year). To take some load off the Supreme Court’s back, each state has its own court system. The operative keyword here is “jurisdiction.”

How it works in Florida

In Florida, most jury trials start at the circuit court, which is higher than the county court. In total, there are 20 judicial circuits in the state, with the city of Miami under the 11th judicial circuit of Florida. Your personal injury claim usually starts here on the city level. Unless the losing party appeals to a higher court, lower courts can already be the end of the line for any case.

The District Court of Appeal is on the intermediate level, in which Miami is covered by the Third DCA (as it handles the 11th and 16th judicial circuits). As the name implies, you can file for an appeal to overturn any ruling against you, provided that there’s sufficient reason to do so. If the intermediate level also rules against you, you can take your case to the state Supreme Court, on condition.

A federal question

For cases to be elevated to the federal level, they must ask a question that concerns the federal sphere, in general. Unless your personal injury case raises questions about certain federal laws, your personal injury lawyer in Miami will tell you that such cases rarely get to federal level.