Savannah Car Accidents: What County Do I Sue In?

In What County Do You File Suit for a Car Accident Injury in Georgia?
When filing a claim against someone who has injured you in a car accident, you should always sue the other driver instead of his or her insurance company. However, perhaps your case is complicated—for example, if you live in Chatham County, the other driver lives in Bulloch County, and the accident took place in Chatham County. What do you do then? Whatever the circumstances, you should always file a claim in the accident’s “venue,” or the county where the other driver, the defendant, lives when you file the suit.

What to Do If the Defendant Resided in Georgia during the Accident and Still Lives in State

All Georgians have the legal right to be sued in their county of residence, so if the defendant has moved to a different county, the proper venue is the new county of residence. So, even if the crash was in Savannah and in Chatham County, if the driver lived in Bulloch County, then you have to file the suit there.

Also keep in mind that after you file the suit and the defendant has been served by the sheriff, the court has jurisdiction over the defendant. In other words, after the defendant is served, you do not have to worry about tracking him or her down anymore.

What to Do If the Defendant Resided outside of Georgia during the Accident and Still Lives out of State

If this is the case, then you can still file a suit against the other driver, under either the Long Arm Statute or the Non-Resident Motorist Statute.

Long Arm Statute in Georgia: OCGA Sec. 9-10-91(1)

Remember, the venue is always the county where the accident occurred, whether or not that county is in Georgia. The Long Arm Statute allows you to have the defendant served outside of Georgia, because he or she must be served in order to be under the court’s jurisdiction. How to do this? Your best option is hiring a local authority, such as the Sheriff in the defendant’s county of residence, to serve the defendant.

Non-Resident Motorist Act in Georgia: OCGA Sec. 40-12-1

This statute includes more choices for serving a defendant who did not live in Georgia during the accident and still lives out of state. In this case, the venue can be either your own home county or the accident site’s county. Why is venue such an important part of your case? Juries and judges in metro counties tend to be more lenient in injury cases, and we want your case to be as strong as possible.

While there is a more complicated legal procedure that can be used to serve defendants, it is generally better to serve someone in his or her home state to be on the safe side.

What to Do If You Want to Sue a Company

If you decide to sue a corporation in Georgia, you need to serve an employee who has a relatively important job within the company. This is because you want the upper levels of the company to become involved, so a CEO, CFO, general manager, etc. should be a good choice. Keep in mind, you have the option to sue the employee who is registered with the Georgia Secretary of State. OCGA Sec. 9-11-4 (e)(1)