The Importance of Venue to Your Case
Definition of Venue
Before diving into why venue can be so important to your personal injury case, first, lets define what venue is. Venue is the county in Georgia where your case will be tried. More specifically, it is the court in the county where your case will be tried.
Where Venue Is Established
In many personal injury cases, a plaintiff will not have a choice where to file his or her lawsuit. That is because usually there is only one defendant and a defendant has a right to be sued in the county where they reside.
If you are involved in a car accident with an individual that lives in Forsyth County, then you must file your lawsuit in Forsyth County. If you are struck by an individual in Hall County, then you must file there.
There are times when a plaintiff has a choice of where to file. This situation occurs most often when there are multiple parties involved who reside in different counties.
A perfect example of this situation is in tractor-trailer accidents. In these cases there are always at least two defendants—-the driver of the truck and the trucking company. The driver often lives in a different county from where the trucking company is headquartered. In these situations, a plaintiff can choose which county is thought to be the best plaintiff’s venue for their case.
But what county is the best option?
Venue Becomes Important
Picking the best venue for your action can be very important. As strange as the concept is for most clients, the same personal injury matter can be valued differently depending on which county the case is to be tried to.
The reason for this is because ultimately, every personal injury case is valued by 6 to 12 jurors picked from the county where the case is to be tried. And as we know from elections every cycle, counties in Georgia can vary widely in people’s temperaments, predilections, and politics.
Some counties are traditionally made up of very conservative leaning individuals who typically do not value personal injury cases as high as more liberal leading individuals. Other counties may be made up largely of individuals who do not make a lot of money and therefore, may value a personal injury case lower than individuals in a county that make more money.
For example, as a group, the people of DeKalb County collectively tend to think a bit differently than those in Forsyth County about personal injury cases. For whatever reason, experience and outcomes seen from other attorneys so that DeKalb County tends to value the personal injury cases much higher than the jurors in Forsyth County.
Therefore, any time a plaintiff has a choice of counties in which to file a personal injury matter, it is always wise to chose carefully. An experienced trial lawyer handling your case will be able to use his or her experience and history of verdicts in the counties to their advantage in selecting the best venue for your case.
Keep In Mind
While venue is an important factor in every case, it is just one factor. Furthermore, a particular county’s perceived valuation of personal injury cases at the end of the day is just a generalization that does not always hold true. Sometimes, a very “conservative” county can return a large plaintiff’s verdict that no one could have predicted.
Ultimately, we believe truth will prevail at trial and therefore, if a personal injury case has good merit, a jury no matter where located will find justice for the injured.