Where Do I File My Car Or Truck Accident Case In Georgia

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Georgia has over 150 counties. Many citizens in each of these counties serve on juries for civil cases each year. I am frequently asked by my clients, in which court (and in which county) will my injury case be filed? After all, there are so many counties and so many courts, how do we choose which one to use? The good news is that the Georgia constitution answers many, if not all, of the questions about which court must be used.

In general, you must sue a Georgia citizen in the county in which he resides. In plain English, that means if you are in a car accident in Dekalb County and the at-fault driver lives in Clayton County, you would file suit in Clayton County not Dekalb (generally, it doesn’t matter where the plaintiff/injured person lives). This concept confuses many non-lawyers who justifiably think that the most logical place to file a lawsuit is where the harm/damage/car accident happens. Sometimes where the damage occurs does matter. However, if for example a car wreck occurs between a Fulton County resident and a Dekalb County resident (who is the party who will be sued), the lawsuit must be filed in Dekalb; it doesn’t matter that the injured party lives in Fulton.

What about corporations? You can sue a Georgia corporation in the county where it has a registered agent (the person responsible for accepting formal papers, filings) or where the accident occurs if the corporation has an office/location in that same county. An example will help–A Home Depot truck causes a wreck in Clayton County. We know that Home Depot is a Georgia corporation, with its registered agent in Cobb County; however, Home Depot has locations in Clayton County and the wreck occurred there, so you can bring suit in Clayton County.

What about a non-Georgia resident who causes an accident in Georgia and hurts a Georgia resident? Again, an example will help. Suppose an Alabama resident drives through downtown Atlanta and causes a wreck which hurts a resident of Cobb County, Georgia. Where do you bring suit? Georgia has the Non-Resident Motorist Act. This law is specifically geared toward the situation where a non-resident causes an auto accident in Georgia. Georgia law provides that the Georgia resident can sue the out-of-state driver in the county where the wreck occurred or in the county where the injured party/plaintiff lives. Importantly, there are special rules in place for how one serves (gives notice of the lawsuit) the out-of-state defendant.

If you have been injured in an accident, be sure to speak with a qualified and experience injury attorney.

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