OVER 400 Legal Answers to Frequently Asked Questions to a Variety of California Injury Issues and Legal Problems Associated with California Accidents
What is my case worth? What should I do after a bicycle accident? My car's brakes didn't function properly, do I have a case? Should I sign the insurance company's proposal? Some of your questions may have been answered already on Mark Blane's website. However, San Diego county accidents happen all the time, and all sorts of different questions about different injury scenarios can be raised by a person who is injured. As a result, this personal injury website is dedicated to answering your frequently asked questions about a variety of injuries, your legal rights, and what procedures you should follow. Just browse our frequently asked questions (FAQ) section (below) and look them up. If you have other or more specific questions, just send an email (Contact Us) and you will receive a reply without delay!
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CA SMALL CLAIMS COURT: Should I use Small Claims Court on my small or minor California car, or motorcycle accident case?
Yes, you should consider the possibility.
Do not over look the possibility of utilizing the California small claims court for your minor injury case, especially if you are involved in a car accident and property damage photos show your damage to be below $1,500. Remember, a photograph can say a thousand words in terms of what looks like an injury- producing accident and what does not. Surface damage with no intrusion on the frame would be considered minor. Under California law, generally speaking, attorneys are not allowed to advocate a client’s case on the first hearing in small claims court. This basically means attorneys cannot represent their clients in argument in small claims.
There are narrow exceptions to this rule, but the point here is the small claims forum could be a good place to file your lawsuit against the at-fault party, on your own and without a lawyer, in minor cases where the insurance company is still haggling to settle your case unfairly. This is a great way to “level the playing field” against the at-fault insurance company. I sometimes recommend this avenue to my clients who have very minor injuries or extremely low property damage resulting from an automobile accident.
CALIFORNIA SMALL CLAIMS COURT: What are some advantages of using California Small Claims court on my small or minor car accident case?
Here are some advantages of using California small claims court on your own without a lawyer for your minor injury case:
⇒ The costs of filing are relatively low and are sometimes waived in full if you qualify. Check with your local small claims court for details;
⇒ Service of process fees -- where you serve the at-fault party notice of your small claims lawsuit — can be relatively low as well, and you can serve the defendant by certified mail or personal messenger. I usually recommend doing both if you are suing a private party. If you are suing a corporate entity, certified mail usually suffices because those entities have to file for the public an “agent for service of process” with a good address;
⇒ Each county in California has to have a small claims LEGAL ADVISOR division connecting each California Superior Court with a small claims legal advisor office. This is a fantastic resource available to the public in California, since attorneys are generally not allowed to represent clients in California small claims court. You can get phone numbers for these important offices with a simple Internet search or by contacting your local attorney bar association. A legal advisor can help you with your small claims suit, from filing, service, and how to prepare for your hearing to other motions that can be useful to your particular case, and it is all done FREE OF CHARGE.