It is a common scenario in Atlanta. An Atlanta area resident is seriously injured in a car accident caused by and out-of-state driver, usually driving a rental car and in Atlanta for a convention or business function. After the accident, the out-of-state driver returns to his home state (many times thousands of miles from Atlanta).
Fortunately, Georgia’s “Long Arm” statute allows for Atlanta residents to sue the out-of-state driver here in Atlanta (most often in Fulton or DeKalb County State Court). The official code of Georgia, O.C.G.A. § 9-10-91, provides: A court of this state may exercise personal jurisdiction over any nonresident . . . as to a cause of action arising from any of the acts, omissions, ownership, use, or possession enumerated in this Code section, in the same manner as if he were a resident of the state, if in person or through an agent, he
(1) Transacts any business within this state;
(2) Commits a tortious act or omission within this state, except as to a cause of action for defamation of character arising from the act;
(3) Commits a tortious injury in this state caused by an act or omission outside this state if the tort-feasor regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in this state.
In other words, a non-resident of Georgia, subjects himself to the jurisdiction of Georgia courts for the purposes of a lawsuit based on personal injury by being in the state, transacting business, driving a car on the roads of Georgia, and committing negligence while in the state. This is the law in every state, as it is based on fairness and equity as it allows citizens of a state to sue someone for the negligence. If this were not the law, injustice would surely occur.
This gives us the legal basis to sue the out-of-state defendant in Georgia and lawfully enforce any judgment obtained. Once jurisdiction is obtained against the out-of-state defendant, and the defendant is served with service of process pursuant to the law arm statute, the lawsuit proceeds just like any other suit based on negligence and the laws of Georgia are applied to the cause of action. To comply with proper service under the long arm statute, the service should be perfected in the state of residence of the out-of-state at fault driver in the manner that would be carried out in that state of residence.
Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident by an out-of-state driver and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.