One of the decisions that must be made when filing a civil lawsuit is where to do so. You must file with a court that is legally allowed to hear the case, but you often have more than one option. The venue may play a role in determining whether you will win your lawsuit and how much compensation you receive.
Each state has its own laws regarding choosing a venue for a civil lawsuit, and it’s important to know what those laws are. Your attorney should be experienced in filing suits, and they will know which venues they have to choose from.
The basic considerations are choosing a venue where the defendant lives or does business, which could be two separate places, or where the accident happened. In some situations, this may mean the state you live in and a bordering state for the venue. Your attorney should be familiar with the laws in the border state to determine if the laws hinder or limit your suit.
For instance, some states have a law that states if a person is 51 percent responsible for a car accident, they cannot file a claim against another party. If this is the case in a bordering state, which is where the defendant lives, you might not want to have the lawsuit held there.
When you are deciding where to file a suit, you’ll want to think about how close you are to the court as well as whether jurors in that city will be favorable or unfavorable towards your case.
You’ll also want to think about the defendant who has the right to object to your venue. It can be time-consuming to have to change venues, which can happen if the court thinks another location is better suited. For instance, you wouldn’t necessarily want to choose a location close to where you live if the defendant lives 500 miles away. If the accident occurred closer to the defendant’s home, it may make sense to have the case filed in the county where the collision happened.
An experienced attorney will be able to advise you on which courts are legally able to hear the case and which venue will be the best choice to help you receive the maximum amount of compensation.