When you suffer a personal injury on account of another person’s conduct, you will likely wonder which court your lawsuit should be filed in. The court where your case is tried is known as the “venue.”
Venue can be thought of as the arena in which your case will be played out. However, New York has very specific rules for selecting a venue when filing a lawsuit. In some cases, plaintiffs might have multiple venues in which their case can be brought. As such, there are many factors to consider when choosing the venue, as it can impact the amount of compensation you potentially recover.
For a free case review with our Westchester personal injury attorneys, contact us at The Martello Law Firm, PLLC today at (914) 685-6950.
What is Venue and How Does it Affect My Personal Injury Case in New York?
The term “venue” simply refers to the court your lawsuit is filed with in New York. In general, most counties in New York have their own courthouse, including the boroughs of New York City. Fortunately, our Clarkstown, NY personal injury lawyers have years of experience determining the proper venue to file our clients’ lawsuits. When an attorney decides which county to file a case in, they consider various factors such as the available factual information, the location of the courthouse, the convenience of the witnesses, and the reputation of the jury pool. These factors can be incredibly important to the outcome of your case and how much compensation you can potentially recover.
How Venue is Determined in New York
The plaintiff’s attorney initially chose a venue in a New York personal injury case. While our firm will have strategic reasons for wanting to file your case in a particular court, there are very specific rules for what venue your lawsuit can be filed in.
Under C.V.P. Law § 503(a), in order to determine the location of a trial, it must take place in the county where one of the parties resided at the time the lawsuit was initiated. Alternatively, it can take place in the county where a significant portion of the events or omissions that led to the claim took place. If none of the parties were residing in the state at the time, the plaintiff may choose any county for the trial.
It is also possible for someone to be considered a resident in multiple counties. Additionally, the requirements for residency are less strict than those for domicile. Specifically, residency is determined by the place where an individual stays for a period of time with the genuine intention of making it their home for an extended duration and with some level of permanence.
When dealing with cases involving designated parties, the venue for the case may depend on factors beyond their place of residence. For instance, if the case involves an administrator, executor, or trustee, they will be considered a resident of both the county where they were appointed and the county where they currently reside. Likewise, a railroad or another common carrier will be considered a resident of the county where the cause of action occurred.
Keep in mind that the county of residence for a party is determined during the start of the legal proceedings and not at the time of the accident or when the cause of action occurred. As mentioned earlier, the plaintiff’s lawyer selects the venue based on the available information at the time of commencing the litigation.
How Venue is Determined When the Defendant is a Corporation or Business
Per C.V.P. Law § 503(c), For venue purposes, a corporation, whether domestic or foreign, is considered a resident of the county where its principal office is situated. If it’s a domestic corporation, its residence is determined by the county specified in its certificate of incorporation, regardless of any office or facility it may have in a different county. As for partnerships or smaller businesses, their principal place of business is the county where they reside, as well as the county where the partner or individual owner being sued lives.
Furthermore, physicians can also be considered residents of the county where their primary practice is located, in addition to their county of residence. Remember, you can file suit in the county where your accident occurred if a business’s or corporation’s place of business is too inconvenient to file your case in.
Determining Venue When Suing a New York County, City, School District, or Government Corporation
According to C.V.P. Law § 504, a lawsuit can be filed in the county in which the entity you are suing is instituted. For instance, if legal action is being taken against the City of New York, it should be filed in the county where the cause of action occurred within the City. However, if the cause of action occurred outside the City, your lawsuit should be filed in the county where the defendant is situated.
According to C.V.P. Law § 505, lawsuits involving public authorities, like public transit services, must be tried in the county where the authority has its main office or where the relevant facilities are located. For example, in the case of a lawsuit against the New York City Transit Authority, the trial must take place in the county within New York City where the issue originated.
Venue By Agreement
Apart from residency requirements, the venue can also be determined by a written agreement that includes a choice of venue or forum provision. The types of provisions are usually found in contracts, leases, waivers, and releases. Also, the plaintiff and defendant could agree on a particular venue if circumstances make one more convenient than an original venue.
Why Venue Matters in a New York Personal Injury Case
Certain jurisdictions are known to be more favorable towards plaintiffs than others. Specifically, urban areas are often considered more plaintiff-friendly in New York personal injury cases. It is important to note that this does not guarantee a win in your case, but it could result in a larger award from the jury.
The venue where a case is tried can impact the amount of damages awarded, in addition to its reputation for being favorable to plaintiffs. Urban areas tend to have higher costs for medical care and salaries, which can influence a jury’s perception of the case and the award they ultimately decide to give.
It is possible for juries in different regions of New York to interpret a case differently depending on their personal experiences. For instance, New York City juries might have a better understanding of a lawsuit involving a pedestrian injury due to the high number of pedestrians in the city. In contrast, rural juries might be less familiar with complex cases like medical malpractice or product liability cases as they do not encounter them as frequently as urban juries.
Our New York Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help Your Case
Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC today at (914) 685-6950 for a free case examination with our dedicated Yonkers personal injury lawyers.