The Concept of Personal Jurisdiction in Florida Personal Injury Cases

Filing a successful Florida personal injury lawsuit can be very complex and requires more than just determining fault. Anyone who is about to file a claim must thoroughly analyze the details of the case before presenting it in front of a judge. When a defendant is sued in a state in which they do not reside, the question that is raised is whether they are legally required to appear in that state’s court and defend the lawsuit. The answer is contingent on whether the out-of-state court has personal jurisdiction over the non-resident defendant.  Therefore, it is preferred that a skilled attorney is consulted regarding Florida personal injury cases.

Concept of Jurisdiction:

A court’s power to hear a case is known as jurisdiction. It is of two types. The court’s ability to hear a certain kind of case is known as subject matter jurisdiction, while the court’s ability to issue judgment over a specific defendant is known as personal jurisdiction. Such distinction is important.

If a defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction in Florida, they can only be sued within Florida for a claim related to activities in Florida. However, if a defendant is subject to general jurisdiction in the state, they can be sued within the state for any claim, regardless of the fact that the plaintiff’s claims are related to the defendant’s connection with the state of Florida.

A court always has jurisdiction over those who are domiciled in that state. However, determining personal jurisdiction in Florida personal injury cases can be critical when an out-of-state defendant is involved. The complexity can also depend on the type of claim. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the plaintiff to show that the court has jurisdiction.

There are various ways to ascertain personal jurisdiction. Florida statutes section 48.193 demonstrates several ways by which a court can exercise jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant, including:

  • If the defendant commits a wrongful act, such as a motor vehicle accident in the state
  • If the defendant manages or engages in a business in the state
  • If the defendant issues an insurance policy, covering property or a person in the state
  • If the defendant engages in substantial and un-isolated activity within the state

It is clear that accident victims in certain personal injury cases can more easily determine personal jurisdiction. Those victims who are injured by a car accident in Florida or are involved in an out-of-state accident caused by a Florida driver, should not have any issue related to the court’s jurisdiction.

Other types of lawsuits might bring a certain level of difficulty for the plaintiff to establish jurisdiction. For instance, if an individual is injured by a defective or flawed product in Florida, but the manufacturer was an out-of-state entity, the process of determining the court’s powers can be complex. This can be done by proving that the organization carried on its business in the state of Florida.

The Reach of Florida’s Long-Arm Statute in Connection with Florida Personal Injury Cases:

Under the scope of Florida’s long-arm statute, personal jurisdiction is determined through a two-step process. The exercise of jurisdiction over the particular defendant must meet the constitutional requirement of due process and one of the statute’s provisions must provide a basis for jurisdiction. This statute provides the state’s courts with general jurisdiction over a non-resident if that defendant engages in substantial activities within Florida.

The courts of the sunshine state have ruled that substantial and non-isolated means “continuous and systematic general business contact,” which simply reflects the language used in the US Supreme court verdicts. For instance, an organization has continuous and systematic business contact with Florida if it is incorporated in the state or if its principal business is being conducted in Florida.

Since minimum contact can include electronic, telephonic, or written communications to Florida from a foreign state, provided that the plaintiff’s cause of filing the claim arises from such communications, a non-resident person can be subjected to Florida court’s jurisdiction.

About Workers’ Compensation Lawyers:

We at Florida Lawyers 360 are a team of attorneys who specialize in Florida personal injury cases. Our collective aim is to educate people regarding the laws and their rights in the state of Florida. We have a super friendly customer support team who will guide you throughout the entire process and also explain the legal framework and jargon. We provide the best legal services at the most reasonable rates. Call us today to know more about the facilities we offer.

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