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Small Claims Court and Car Accidents

Getting into an accident is not something we like to prepare for; in fact, it's something few of us prepare for other than getting auto insurance and having a health plan. Sometimes no preparation can prepare you for the chaos during and after an accident. In many accidents, both drivers are fine, but the cars are another story. If you have a very valuable car, say a BMW, and need some repairs, read on. If you have a less expensive car, but have some damages not covered, this guide will help you too.

Minor accidents may seem “minor” on paper but can in fact can cost you thousands of dollars. Your auto insurance payment may be nominal. In order to get your expenses covered, you can take a negligent driver to small claims court. This is, of course, if you feel the fault is not yours. Small claims courts are technically simple hearings, where the settlements are less than other courts. Minor car accidents can be brought to small claims courts and you can get compensation of $2,500 to $5,000. If someone clearly made a mistake, hit that BMW of yours, but it was a minor accident, you have a right to compensation even if it's relatively small.

In many cases, you can get money from the at fault driver without even going to small claims court. Sometimes you're able to work out a deal. You can write the driver a letter, asking for a impartial third party to hear both your sides, and settle before court. You have nothing to lose at this stage.

Since small claims courts are not the grounds of professional lawyers, you may wonder if talking to one is good. You can at the least get a brief consultation with a legal expert. Instead of spending all the money you're trying to get compensation from another driver, you can get a 1-2 hour consultation from a personal injury lawyer and learn how to handle the case.

Since you won't get that much money, consulting with a lawyer before going to court saves you time and money. Unfortunately, you may not have a “winner” for small claims court. On the other hand, you may have a reasonable case. To save yourself days of work in this case, be sure it's suitable for a small claims court, that you have enough proof of fault, and that the compensation is worth the time involved.

The advantages of small claims court are many. It's a fast process, informal, cheap, and relatively easy once you know your rights. You rarely hear of these things happening, but car accidents are under the jurisdiction of small claims court in many cases. If it can put a few thousand into repairing your car, that's more than worth it.