The court system is often viewed as a single entity, but in reality, it is made up of various specialized courts that handle specific types of cases. The jurisdiction of a court determines the kind of cases it can hear, ranging from minor offenses such as a speeding ticket to major cases like fraud against the federal government. In Texas, jurisdiction refers to the power and authority of a court to hear and determine specific types of cases. The jurisdiction of Texas courts is divided among different levels of the state court system, including:
- Municipal Courts: These courts have limited jurisdiction and hear minor criminal cases such as traffic violations, and other offenses that occur within the boundaries of a particular municipality.
- Justice of the Peace Courts: These courts have original jurisdiction over minor criminal cases and also hear civil cases with a value of up to $10,000.
- County Courts: County courts have jurisdiction over certain types of civil cases, such as small claims, and some criminal cases, including misdemeanors and some felonies.
- District Courts: District courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction in Texas and have the authority to hear both civil and criminal cases. District courts have original jurisdiction over serious felonies and hear appeals from lower courts.
- Courts of Appeals: There are 14 Courts of Appeals in Texas that hear appeals from the district courts and have the power to review decisions and make final determinations in civil and criminal cases.
- Texas Supreme Court: The Texas Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and has the final say on all legal matters in Texas. The Texas Supreme Court has discretionary review over some cases, meaning it may choose to hear cases from the Courts of Appeals or from the district courts.
Which Court Should I File My Lawsuit In?
In Texas, personal injury lawsuits can be filed in the state’s district court system. The district court with jurisdiction over the case depends on the location where the injury occurred and the defendant resides. Personal injury cases can also be heard in the state’s county court system if the amount in dispute is less than $100,000. It’s best to consult with a local attorney to determine the appropriate court for your personal injury lawsuit.