It is rare that the
U.S. Supreme Court hears and decides personal injury cases in this era, but the U.S. Supreme
Court recently heard arguments about a personal injury case involving
a woman who was injured while traveling in Europe. It will set a precedent
that could increase the number of lawsuits that are filed in the future.
The main reason for the fact that the Supreme Court does not regularly
take on personal injury cases is that personal injury law is primarily
a state issue. Each state has its own rules, regulations, and laws that
deal with personal injury, and those rules will vary from state to state.
As a result, personal injury law is not typically a federal issue, but
a state issue.
What Happened in This Case
This case is different because it deals with a woman who was hurt overseas
while in Europe. She purchased a ticket from a company based out of the
United States to give her access to trains across Europe. While traveling
in Austria, she tried to board a moving train when she fell and was injured
to the point where she had to have her legs amputated above the knees.
After her injury she sued the people she felt were responsible, including
the company that ran the train. Since the company was an agency of the
government of Austria, it was unclear whether a U.S. court could actually
hear and decide the case. In other words, it was unclear whether a U.S.
court would have jurisdiction over what happened. This is the primary
issue the Supreme Court must decide.
Close observers of the court are inclined to think that the court
will not allow the case to go forward. This is in light of the fact that the lower court that decided the case
ruled against the victim of this case.
In that ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal law did not allow
this woman to sue this particular company because the company is owned
and run by the country of Austria, and federal law prevents people from
suing another foreign state in federal court with few exceptions.
Of course, the court could rule in favor of the woman and allow the case
to go forward. If that happened the court would essentially be saying
the company was not really an agency of the state but a commercial actor
that happened to be overseen by the country of Austria. If the court rules
in this way, we could expect the number of personal injury cases filed
for foreign accidents to increase in the future.
Panama City Personal Injury Attorney
At The Pittman Firm we file and prosecute personal injury claims on behalf
of those who are injured negligently. It is important for victims of personal
injury to know that they have rights, and that they should be fairly compensated
for the injuries they suffer. If you have been injured in an accident,
contact us. We will go over your case with you and provide you with your
See related blog posts:
Florida Supreme Court to Decide on Attorney’s Fees Case;
Florida Courts: An Overview.