The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts recently changed the amount-in-controversy requirement for civil cases in Massachusetts. This comes as shocking news since the amount-in-controversy has not been changed in Massachusetts since 1986. The main purpose of the change is to improve the efficiency of closing cases within the set time limit.
What Is An Amount-In-Controversy?
In order to go to court, you first have to file a claim. You can only file a claim with the court if you meet the proper jurisdictional requirements. A court cannot hear a case unless it has the jurisdiction over the people, location, and amount of money involved in the dispute. The money in dispute requirement is known as the amount-in-controversy requirement. Essentially, the damages sought in a case must meet the minimum threshold amount to qualify for that court’s jurisdiction.
For example, the new amount-in-controversy requirement for Massachusetts Superior Courts is $50,000. If you try to file a case in Superior Court with a list of damages for $8,000, the court will likely reject your case for failure to meet the minimum amount. If the court does not reject it, the other side will most likely move for a dismissal and it will be granted.
How Might This Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?
If you are thinking about filing a civil case in Massachusetts, this change could affect you. Prior to this decision, the amount-in-controversy requirement was under $25,000 to qualify in Massachusetts District and Boston Municipal Courts. Now, that number has increased to $50,000. As a result, the Superior Courts of Massachusetts now will only accept case with damages likely to be over $50,000.
This new change does impact civil cases like personal injury claims. The new rule does not go into effect until January 1, 2020, so if you already have a case filed with the courts, this will not be an issue for you. If you are contemplating bringing a case to the courts, it is best to talk to a personal injury lawyer, like a Taunton Car Accident Lawyer, right away to see if you should file sooner rather than later.
Contact an Experienced MA Personal Injury Lawyer Today!
If you or a loved one has recently been injured and believe it is the fault of another, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering, among other losses. We specialize in a multitude of personal injury cases and charge no fee until we get you the settlement or award that you deserve. Call today toll-free 24/7 at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out an online contact form for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.