One of the most important aspects in any civil case, particularly personal injury cases, is where you are able to bring the case. The legal term for where you may bring a case is called “venue.” In Georgia State and Superior Courts, venue is designated by county (not city or town).
In most personal injury cases, the general rule is that venue will be in the county in which the defendant (i.e. the person you are suing) resides. For example, in a car accident case where the at-fault driver lives in Fulton County, the lawsuit would most likely have to be filed in Fulton County. This would be the case regardless of where the injured plaintiff lives, or where the car accident occurred.
When it comes to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other businesses, venue will generally be either where the actual ‘brick and mortar’ location is, or where that company’s “registered agent” is located. A registered agent is an individual named by the company to receive certain papers and documents, including lawsuits. All businesses doing business within the State of Georgia are required to have a registered agent.
We recently had a nursing home case against a nursing home that was located in a southern Georgia city. The venue there is very conservative, meaning that jury awards in personal injury cases are below average.
We took the case to mediation. What the insurance adjuster for the nursing home didn’t realize was that the nursing home’s registered agent was located, at the time, in Fulton County. Fulton County is a much more ‘plaintiff friendly’ venue, meaning that jury verdicts are above average for personal in jury cases.
With this “new” information, we were able to get the nursing home to offer several hundred thousand more dollars on top of their previous offer.
If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you do not know which way to turn, please call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta nursing home lawyers today.