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Virginia is the only state in the country that has a system where cities are not also considered within counties. For example, the City of Norfolk is not within any county. There is no Norfolk County. So, as a personal injury lawyer filing a car crash wrongful death suit in Virginia if it happened in Virginia Beach, I file in the Circuit Court for the City of Virginia Beach. Not in any county. This is different than most other states. For example, in the City of Atlanta, the court where a F.E.L.A. lawyer would typically file a suit for a railroad worker who got hurt in the CSX yard in Atlanta would be in either Gwinnett or Fulton County. The way the government units and courts are set up in Georgia is like most other states in the U.S. There are various ways in which Virginia is unique in the way things are done here, especially in the courts.

One of the implications of Virginia’s unusual system is that a good personal injury attorney will spend time thinking about venue possibilities meaning what court are we allowed to file the lawsuit in and where would be most advantageous for a given injury case. In addition to knowing what the law allows and knowing the right questions to ask in a car crash case to figure out where you can file the suit, you have to know about the individual local circuit courts. Questions like who are the judges, what does a typical jury look like, and how easy is it to get a trial date and hearings are all questions which should be asked by an experienced automobile accident lawyer before filing the suit. Obviously, the clients have no way of knowing this information. When you have practiced for 20 years as I have in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area you have a sense for where it would be best for you to file the case. For example, Portsmouth, Virginia is considered one of the best jurisdictions locally to file a case. Some places like Suffolk, Virginia are somewhat in transition as the nature of the population there is expanding and changing. The suburban cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia are generally considered less desirable from the standpoint of the person who was injured than the more urban locations like Norfolk, Hampton and Newport News, Virginia. The city and county distinction makes a lot of difference when you are trying to figure out if you are going to be in a place like Isle of Wight County versus Suffolk or James City and York County rather than the City of Williamsburg or Newport News. Knowing what are the best courthouses for your lawsuit improves your chance of getting a good result from the insurance company for your client who is hurt by somebody else’s fault.

Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the Northeast North Carolina (NC) border, practicing primarily in the southeastern U.S. and handles only injury law, including car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. The firm’s website is:, the firm edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard and also hosts a video library covering many FAQ’s on personal injury subjects. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.

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