Venue is an important but often overlooked part of a lawsuit. In any personal injury case, you must choose where to file your lawsuit—including which county to file in. Depending on your case, there may be only one location where you can file, or you may have your choice of several locations. These are known as the venue or venues for your case.
Venue is related to the concept of jurisdiction, but the two concepts are slightly different. Jurisdiction refers to the type of court that can hear your case—such as the local Municipal Court, the county’s branch of the State Court, or the regional Superior Court. Venue refers to the location that can accept your case. For example, every county in Georgia has its own branch of the State Court, but there are probably only one or two counties that can hear your case.
How do I know which court is my venue in Georgia?
- The county where the accident happened, in any case involving an accident
- The county where the defendant lives
- The county where the defendant conducts their business or has their office, if they are a business
An experienced lawyer will know which venues are available to you.
Can I choose the venue I want?
Yes, in many cases your case could be accepted in several different venues, and you will have the right to choose which venue you file in. You should always have the advice of a good personal injury lawyer when choosing venue. This is because different venues are likely to treat your claim very differently—especially if it proceeds all the way to trial. Juries in rural counties, for example, tend to award lower amounts than juries in Atlanta or other cities. Other factors could also influence which venue is best for your case. Your lawyer can help choose a venue where you have the strongest chance possible, or where you’re likely to receive more money.
When should I request a chance of venue?
In some cases there is only one venue where you can file, but sometimes you can request to have it changed. The other party (the defendant) can request this as well. You do this by filing your lawsuit in the venue available to you and then entering a motion for change of venue.
Judges will grant change of venue for several reasons:
- Another venue is closer to witnesses or more convenient for all parties
- Publicity about your case has already biased potential jurors in the local area
- A contract between you and the other party stipulates that the case must be heard in a different venue
Have you been injured? John Foy & Associates offers a free consultation with some of the most experienced and respected personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.