Below is a sample personal injury complaint or statement of claim for a car accident case to be filed in Magistrate Court. In Georgia, each county has a Magistrate Court. These courts resolve disputes where the amount in controversy is less than $15,000.00. There is no such cap for lawsuits filed in either State of Superior Court.
A Magistrate Court complaint is a very basic legal document. Car accident cases are very basic at their core. Thus, many cases with lower damages and medical bills are served well by the Magistrate Courts. In any personal injury case, your complaint can and will be used against you at trial. Therefore, it is best to give a short and concise statement of the facts, rather than an exhaustive and detailed account of all the events. This “notice complaint” is allowed as the “Georgia Civil Practice Act requires only notice pleading and… pleadings are to be construed liberally and reasonably to achieve substantial justice…” Islam v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. et al., Georgia Court of Appeals (No. A13A2373) 2014.
Where to File?
A personal injury lawsuit must be filed in the county where the Defendant (i.e., the at-fault driver or corporation) lives or the registered agent is located. If a Defendant is an unincorporated business, the lawsuit must be filed in the county where the business is physically located.
How to File?
Most Magistrate Courts in Georgia use an electronic filing system. However, some Magistrate Courts still require lawsuit to be physically signed and delivered to the courthouse for processing. It is best practice to call the local Clerk of Court to confirm the best way to deliver a lawsuit, as well as confirm the court’s filing fees.
Elements of a Magistrate Court Complaint
Name of the Court
Preamble listing the parties of the lawsuit
Statement of Jurisdiction and Facts
Notice and Summons
Complaint For Personal Injuries
Rear-end car accident complaint or statement of claim
Magistrate Court of Hall County, GEORGIA
DATE FILED: _________ STATEMENT OF CLAIM CASE NO. _________
1618 Elk Creek Road
Peachtree City, GA 30269
4970 Kuhl Avenue
Gainesville, GA 30501
1. The Court has jurisdiction over the Defendant(s) as the Defendant(s) is/are a resident(s) of Hall County;
2. Plaintiff(s) claims the Defendant(s) is/are indebted to the Plaintiff(s) as follows: On June 5, 2021, Plaintiff and Defendant were involved in a motor vehicle collision at or near the intersection of 14th Steet NE and Peachtree Street NE in Atlanta, Georgia. The motor vehicle collision was proximately caused by Defendant’s negligence. Defendant’s negligence include failure to operate their vehicle in a safe and lawful manner and (insert actual negligence [i.e., following too closely, failure to yield, etc.]). As a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s negligence, Plaintiff incurred medical expenses in excess of $5,428.13; lost wages in excess of $1,250.00; and suffered pain and suffering to be proven at trial. Plaintiff demands a verdict of $15,000 plus court costs to date and all future costs of this suit.
That said claim is in the amount of $15,000.00, plus court costs to date, and all future costs of this suit.
STATE OF GEORGIA, HALL COUNTY
Attorney James M. Grant being duly sworn on oaths says that the foregoing is a just and true statement of the amount owing by Defendant(s) to Plaintiff(s), exclusive of all set-offs and just ground defenses
Sworn and subscribed before me this
_____ day of ____________, 20______ ________________________________________
Notary Public/Attesting Official
James M. Grant, GA Bar No 4682457,
Georgia Trial Attorneys at Kirchen and Grant, LLC
6825 Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Suite 1400
Norcross, GA 30071
Tel: (678) 667-8965
Fax: (833) 931-6633
Attorney for Plaintiff(s) Phone Number & Email Address
I request a civil trial during normal business hours (insert location, if multiple locations are offered)
NOTICE AND SUMMONS
TO: All Defendant(s) You are hereby notified that the above-named Plaintiff(s) has/have made a claim and is requesting judgment against you in the sum shown by the foregoing statement. YOU ARE REQUIRED TO FILE or PRESENT AN ANSWER (answer forms can be obtained from https://georgiamagistratecouncil.com/forms or from the clerk’s office) TO THIS CLAIM WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER SERVICE OF THIS CLAIM UPON YOU. IF YOU DO NOT ANSWER, JUDGMENT BY DEFAULT WILL BE ENTERED AGAINST YOU. YOUR ANSWER MAY BE FILED IN WRITING OR MAY BE GIVEN ORALLY TO THE JUDGE. If you choose to file your answer orally, it MUST BE IN OPEN COURT IN PERSON and within the 30 day period. NO TELEPHONE ANSWERS ARE PERMITTED. The court will hold a hearing on this claim at (insert the courthouse’s physical address) at a time to be scheduled after your answer is filed. You may come to court with or without an attorney. If you have witnesses, books, receipts, or other writings bearing on this claim, you should bring them to court at the time of your hearing. If you want witnesses or documents subpoenaed, see a staff person in the Clerk’s office for assistance. If you have a claim against the Plaintiff(s), you should notify the court by immediately filing a written answer and counterclaim. If you admit to the Plaintiff(s)’ claim but need additional time to pay, you must come to the hearing in person and tell the court your financial circumstances. Your answer must be RECEIVED by the clerk within 30 days of the date of service. If you are uncertain whether your answer will timely arrive by mail, file your answer in person at the clerk’s office during normal business hours.
This _____ day of ____________, 20______.
Clerk/Deputy Clerk of Court