The Courts in Connecticut: How They Work

Monday November 15, 2010

So you’ve been hurt in an accident or injured due to the negligence of another: what comes next? Any time you are thinking about filing a lawsuit, there are a lot of things that need to be considered. While the details should ultimately be left to an attorney, it may be helpful to understand how the judicial system in Connecticut works.

Most cases in Connecticut – especially those involving claims of personal injury, medical malpractice or wrongful death – are initially filed in the Superior Court, which is the trial level court.

Connecticut is divided into 13 judicial districts with 20 geographical areas. Each judicial district has at least one Superior Court that hears major criminal, civil and family law cases. Civil cases include motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice, wrongful death and defective product claims.

Determining Venue

When deciding to sue someone for negligence or malpractice, you have to determine in what courthouse, or venue, your case should be filed. Choosing just any court is not an option. Typically, the courthouse in which you file must meet one of three requirements. It must be:

  • In the district where you live
  • In the district where the defendant (the party you are suing) lives, or
  • In the district where the accident or injury occurred if no one involved lives in Connecticut

Deciding where to file sometimes will make a difference in your case, so it is important to seek help from an attorney experienced in handling cases like yours.

Second Chances After Trial: Appeals

The judicial system is also set up in such a way that if you don’t get the outcome you were hoping for at the trial court it does not necessarily mean that you have no further chance of recovery.

When individuals are unhappy with the Superior Court’s decision, they have the option to appeal – which usually leads the case to be heard by the Connecticut Appellate Court. Parties unhappy with that outcome can appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court, but that court has the right to not certify the appeal – which means they do not have to hear the case if they do not think it is necessary.

Just because you want to appeal a court’s decision, it does not necessarily mean that you should. It is best to consult with an attorney to decide what is most appropriate for your specific situation.

Sources: Connecticut’s Courts

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