The United States has two separate sets of laws that govern the citizens of each state. There is federal law and state law. Each state has their own law, and as long as it does not conflict with the federal law in that same area, the state law will apply to many cases. This is especially true in personal injury cases, since most personal injury cases do not give rise to federal court “jurisdiction.”
The term “jurisdiction” essentially means the power to hear a case and impose judgment over the parties to the case. For example, a court in New Mexico will not likely have jurisdiction over a case arising between two Marylanders who get into an accident on a Maryland road. In that case, Maryland would likely be the most proper venue for the lawsuit.
As noted above, each state has the ability to create its own set of laws, and it stands to reason that the law in every state will be a little bit different. This can create major consequences for accident victims in certain cases because under one state’s law a victim’s case may be strong, but under another state’s law the case may be much weaker. This also can have implications regarding the applicable statute of limitations, or the time in which the accident victim has to file their lawsuit against the defendant.