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 legal options.
See related blog posts: Florida Supreme Court to Decide on Attorney’s Fees Case; Florida Courts: An Overview.