In Florida car accident cases, one of the first issues the parties may argue over is where the case will be heard. Of course, most plaintiffs would prefer to file the case in a venue that is convenient for them. However, as a general rule venue is appropriate where the defendant resides. That being said, a plaintiff can choose where to initially file a case, and may have some say in where a case is heard.
A recent case discusses a somewhat complicated venue issue that arose after an uninsured motorist collision. The case involved a named and an unnamed defendant, and required the court to determine whether the named defendant should be able to transfer the case to his home county. Finding that the case could be heard in either of the defendant’s home venues, the court determined that the named defendant was not entitled to transfer the case.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiffs were involved in a three-car accident after an unnamed driver swerved in front of their vehicle, requiring them to quickly apply the brakes. The named defendant, who was traveling directly behind the plaintiffs, slammed into the back of their car. The plaintiffs claimed the named defendant was following too closely.
The state’s uninsured motorist statute permitted a plaintiff to file a case against an unknown driver in either the county where the accident occurred or the county where the plaintiff lives. Thus, the plaintiff elected to file the case in the county were the accident occurred.
The named defendant sought to transfer the case to his home venue, arguing that under the general rule, venue is appropriate where the defendant resides. The trial court denied the defendant’s request to transfer venue and the defendant appealed.
On appeal, the court held that the defendant’s request to transfer venue was properly denied. The court explained that, when a case involves multiple defendants with different home venues, venue is appropriate in either of the defendants’ home venues. Here, because the UIM statute provides that the home venue of an unknown driver is either the plaintiff’s home venue or the county in which the accident occurred, venue was appropriate in any of the following three venues:
- The named defendant’s home county;
- The county where the accident occurred; or
- The county where the plaintiff resides.
Because the venue was appropriate where the case was filed, the court held that the lower court was proper in denying the named defendant’s request to transfer venue.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated South Florida injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing injury victims in all kinds of Florida personal injury accidents, including car accidents. We go the extra mile to make sure that the process is as convenient as possible for our clients, including ensuring that a favorable venue is selected. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.
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