Here are some more 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 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.
To this end, the theme to remember is: not every injury case will need a lawyer, but every injury case, no matter how minor, deserves good legal counsel to help the accident victim make an informed decision. Most injury lawyers do not charge a fee for a legal consultation. If an attorney takes your case, then he or she will usually get paid at the end when there is a successful outcome. This is known as a “contingency fee.” Thus, the attorney fee is contingent on a settlement. This is how I have been helping injured people in San Diego without significant risk to them.The challenge is to find the right injury attorney who will help you during your initial consult to explain if an attorney is necessary for your particular case. The attorney should not be afraid of suggesting small claims court if the injury is relatively minor. There is a time and place for upper level court, and this decision should always be made collectively between client and attorney.