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The Ultimate Guide to Personal Injury Litigation Involving Non-Resident Motorists

The Georgia Non-Resident Motorist Act (O.C.G.A. §40-12-1 thru §40-12-8) is a powerful tool for lawyers handling personal injury cases caused by out-of-state drivers. This law was created to protect Georgia residents and provide a practical and efficient means for service of process. But like any other law, it comes with its own set of challenges. Understanding the law and how it applies is essential to achieving service of process with ease.

Under the Act, any non-resident driver operating a vehicle within the state of Georgia automatically consents to the state's jurisdiction in the event of a car accident. Also, the Plaintiff, or injured party, gets to choose where to file it. They have two options: (1) the county where they live or (2) the county where the accident happened. Oliver v. Carter, 118 Ga. App. 353 (1968). This rule helps level the playing field for the injured party, allowing them to choose the most suitable county for their case. practice and secure a smooth transition for you and your client:

Confirm The Defendant Is Actually A Non-Resident

Before you file a lawsuit, it's important to confirm if the Defendant is indeed a non-resident. This step requires a thorough investigation, which is often overlooked. It's not enough that the Defendant's driver's license shows an out-of-state address. They could be in Georgia for school, have recently moved, or any number of other circumstances.

Strict Statutory Compliance Alone May Not Be Enough

Another important point to consider is that strictly following the statute may not always be enough. Georgia law can be ambiguous when it comes to confirming if the defendant actually received the lawsuit notice through certified mail. On one hand, the Court of Appeals has held that “when notice is duly given to the defendant as required..., irrespective of whether the defendant actually received such notice, and when the statute otherwise complies with due and legal service has been perfected.” Dunn v. Royal Bros. Co., 111 Ga. App. 322 (1965). However, “proof that notices were mailed raises a presumption that the defendant received the notices, this presumption is a rebuttable one”. Roland v. Shelton, 106 Ga. App. 581 (1962). This is because “the statute and the facts concerning the mailing of the notice must be such as to show within a reasonable probability that the defendant in fact received notice.” Cheek v. Norton, 106 Ga. App. 280 (1962). This makes it even more crucial for personal injury attorneys to be well-versed in state-specific legislation and capable of navigating the legal system effectively.

What Is Included In Our Template?

So, what can you expect from our template? We've designed a free sample non-resident motorist service packet to assist you. Our packet includes the following:

  • Complaint with language for a non-resident motorist Defendant;
  • Notice of Service;
  • Affidavit of Compliance for Non-Resident Motorist Statute Service;
  • Service Of Process, Notice, Or Demand On The Secretary Of State As Statutory Agent; Letter to the Georgia Secretary of State; and
  • Letter to Non-Resident Motorist Defendant.

Use our template to ensure service of process on a non-resident defendant. Click 'Download Here' to begin. Remember, in personal injury law, knowledge is power. Equip yourself today:










COMES NOW, Plaintiff in the above-styled civil action and brings this Complaint against the above-named Defendant(s), and in support hereof, shows the Court as follows:

  1. Plaintiff John Doe resides in the county of Forsyth and is subject to the jurisdiction of this court.

  2. Defendant Robert Smith (“Defendant”) is a non-resident motorist, pursuant to O.C.G.A. §40-12-3, and may be served under    said statute at their residence located at 3842 Tibbs Avenue, Missoula, Montana, 59802.
  3. Defendant is subject to the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to the non-resident motorist act O.C.G.A. §40-12-3.
  4. Pursuant to OCGA §9-3-33, actions for injuries to the person shall be brought within two years after the right of action  accrues. This action is brought before the two-year limitation. 

  5. Venue is proper in this Court because the automobile crash...

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