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Choice of Venue in Personal Injury Litigation


Often there is a choice of counties in which the lawsuit may be brought. This is known as choice of venue. For example, if the accident happened in one county, but the defendant resides in another county, your case probably can be filed in either county. In some areas, one county has an advantage over other counties because the awards are generally higher. For example, awards are generally higher in inner-city counties than in suburban counties. Thus, even though you may wait longer for trial in a large city, the higher money awards make it worth the wait.

When the accident involves federal law, there may be an additional choice, namely, federal court. For instance, if you are in an accident with a U.S. Mail truck or if you fall and are injured on federal property, the suit must be brought in federal court. Cases based upon civil rights violations, such as policy brutality, may also be pursued in federal court. On average, cases decided in federal court result in lower money awards than those brought in state court in large metropolitan areas.

Money awards are highest in big cities because of the characteristics of its residents. In general, the more urban the setting, the higher the average verdict returned by jurors. It seems that big city dwellers are more liberal and more comfortable with socking it to insurance companies than people who live in rural areas. Also, salaries and costs of living are higher in big cities. This apparently makes it easier for big city residents to fully grasp and come to terms with the compensation owed to the injured plaintiff.

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