If you must file a lawsuit after a car crash to recover for your injuries, there is one very important question you must know the answer to: where do you file your lawsuit?
Known as “venue,” getting the answer to this question correct is key for any lawsuit.
Because filing your case in the wrong court (i.e., choosing the wrong venue) can, and most often will, get your case dismissed.
A Word About Venue, Personal Jurisdiction, and Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Before any court may hear a case, it first must have jurisdiction to hear and decide the matter.
Essentially, “jurisdiction” refers to the court’s legal authority to:
- hear a particular matter (i.e., subject matter jurisdiction) and
- enforce its decisions over an individual (i.e., personal jurisdiction).
Venue is the legal concept that ensures that the case is brought in the correct court.
Some courts, like probate court or family court, only hear certain types of cases while other courts are courts of “general jurisdiction.”
Jurisdiction and venue apply to all cases, and it is critical to any litigation that both jurisdiction and venue be correct.
So, Which Court is the Proper One to File Your Lawsuit In?
The answer to this question depends on the facts of your particular case.
In Georgia, the general rule for proper venue in personal injury cases is the county where the defendant lives.
But there are a number of factors that can change the general rule and require the case to be brought somewhere other than in the county where the defendant lives.
For example, if the defendant driver is not a resident of Georgia, then venue is proper:
- where the accident occurred —if the action is brought under Georgia’s Long-Arm Statute (to get personal jurisdiction over the defendant), or
- in the county where the accident occurred or the victim lives—if the action is brought under Georgia’s Nonresident Motorist Statute.
If there are a number of defendants all of whom live in Georgia, then venue is proper in the county where any one of the defendants lives.
Car crash cases involving corporations (for example, trucking accident cases) should be brought where the corporation is registered or where it has its headquarters.
Where to bring your personal injury lawsuit may be just one question that affects your personal injury case, but it is a critical—and often complicated— one. Which is why, if you have been involved in an accident in Georgia, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Cumming, Georgia.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C., are here to help you. We serve clients in Atlanta, and in several counties throughout Georgia, including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others. To find out how we can help you, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or contact us here.