Is Taking Your Car Accident Case to Small Claims Court Right For You?

Posted on May 14, 2018

Small claims court may be the best way to solve your car accident claim.

Small claims court is an alternative dispute resolution for many small claims matters, including car accidents. If an insurance company fails to offer what you think is a fair settlement, small claims court may be a viable option for you as long as the amount you wish to recover is within your state’s dollar limit of small claims court. 

Is it hard to file a case in small claims court?

It is not difficult at all to file a small claims court case. You typically need to fill in a form from the Court Clerk (you may be able to obtain it online as well) and pay a small filing fee. If you win the case, the other driver may be required to pay the fee back. After that, you need to have court papers delivered to the person you are filing against by service of process. You can even hire a local constable or sheriff to do the service for you for a fee.

How to Win

Every car accident case addresses two things: liability (who caused the accident) and damages (what damages occurred as a result of the accident). To win a case you must prove liability and damages you have incurred. If you are able to prove a liability to the court but are unable to provide proof of damages, you will not be awarded anything. It is imperative that you have evidence prepared to prove both damages and liability.

You will need to testify and may be asked to call other people as witnesses if you know of anyone who saw the accident. If no other witnesses were present, you will need to be ready to show your version of how the accident happened, explaining in as much detail as possible. You will need to include parts of the vehicle which were damaged, where the impact occurred on the roadway and so on. If you have photographs, these will be helpful to your case.

What happens if you win?

Should you win, the other driver will have to pay the judgment. In most cases, if the driver had insurance, their insurance company will pay it. If the other driver does not have insurance, in some cases you may have trouble collecting the judgment and the court may have to help you collect it.

Have you been involved in an accident and wish to seek restitution? We can help.