The Importance of Choosing the Proper Venue for your Personal Injury Lawsuit

Choosing where to file your personal injury lawsuit can have a profound impact on how much you can ultimately recover.

When I graduated law school I worked as a law clerk for a judge in Lycoming County a very conservative Pennsylvania County.  One day during a settlement conference between a plaintiff who was claiming he contracted mesothelioma, the disease acquired from asbestos exposure, and the manufacturer of the product, the parties began to discuss the value of the case.  The Plaintiff’s lawyer saw the case valued at many millions of dollars.  Of course defense counsel had a much lower impression of the value of the case.  When asked for his opinion on value the Judge laid some hard truth on Plaintiff’s counsel.  He said “I’ve practiced in Lycoming county my entire career and have never seen a million dollar verdict.”  In contrast, earlier this year a verdict in a medical malpractice case was handed down in Philadelphia to the tune of $44 million dollars.

The disparity in possible jury verdicts depending on the county they are brought in is not lost on defense attorneys and the insurance companies they represent.  They know that a personal injury claim brought in Lycoming County is worth dramatically less than if it was brought in Philadelphia.  That knowledge will affect the amount the insurance company offers on your matter.

Fortunately, the venue rules in Pennsylvania afford Plaintiff’s options when deciding where to file their suit.  When suing an individual, suit can be brought in the county where you live, where the defendant lives or where the incident took place.

When suing a company, suit can be brought in the county where the company has a registered office or principal place of business, where it regularly conducts business and where the accident/incident occurred, among other places.

When hiring an attorney to represent you in your personal injury matter make sure he or she knows what county will bring the greatest value to your claim.  If you have questions regarding what county to file your lawsuit in, contact me today for a free no obligation case evaluation.