Suing for an Injury in the State of Georgia

Suing for a personal injury in the State of Georgia follows many of the same procedures and principles as other states in civil litigation. However, Georgia has its own nuances that a party needs pay attention to. In this respect using a skilled attorney, Eric J. Hertz, P.C., provides valuable skill and support.

To sue for an injury you need to locate the specific defendant and then the county he lives in. Georgia requires individuals to be sued where they officially reside. For organizations, the location needs to be where the business or entity is registered, i.e. business license or operating permit. You start the lawsuit by filing a Complaint. Then, service of the complaint needs to be performed correctly. This notification is typically performed in Georgia by a marshal or a county sheriff, depending on the location. Some counties allow specific, court-approved process servers. Fortunately, a complaining party pays for all this cost when paying the complaint filing fee, so there’s no confusion or additional fee after the fact.

With a complaint filed, the plaintiff party in Georgia needs to provide sufficient time for the sued party to respond. The legal responder generally has 30 calendar days from the service date to respond with an Answer filing. Don’t be surprised if the defendant denies the complaint’s argument and responsibility – this is a common response.

After a response, the discovery phase begins. Parties typically need to find out much more information before they can go to trial. This fact-finding process involves court-approved demands for documents and notes. Additionally, you and other witnesses can be interrogated about the injury and claim in depositions. You cannot refuse these meetings and must answer truthfully in them, but you can also demand your own interrogations of others as well. The general purpose is to find information that helps prove the injury or, in the defendant’s case, to discredit your claim.

Once discovery is complete, the trial scheduling process occurs. Your lawyer will notify the court you are ready for trial. Much depends on how the specific county court manages its workload. The date setting will not be immediate; an open date can take months of waiting before becoming available.

Georgia courts also require civil parties to attempt mediation and settlement before a full trial. If it works, the court system avoids having to hear the case and only has to review and approve the mutually-agreed settlement. Using a court-appointed or approved mediator, the parties try to resolve their issue and bind it in a mutual agreement. This can involve agreements on behavior as well as payment of damages. Much of the discussion will go back and forth between offers, rejections, counter-offers and compromises. If unsuccessful, the mediator then tells the court a trial is necessary.

As you can see above, the lawsuit process just to get to trial is long and challenging. However, if you do need to engage in negotiations, mediation or litigation, contact Eric J. Hertz, P.C. at www.hertz-law.com for a consultation or for more information today.

 

“DISCLAIMER: The above article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should be considered legal advice.  Legal advice can only be given by a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction following an individualized consultation.  If you are seeking legal advice, please contact an attorney in your area.”