Numerous court cases are dealt with in the small claims court; however, it is rare for them to be dealt with in the small claims court save for fender benders when it comes to car accidents. This article will discuss car accident cases in small claims court.
It has been noted that while a small percentage of vehicle accident cases are heard in small claims court, the majority of them are often badly prepared and presented, so much so that the judge bases his or her decision partially on guesswork.
Generally, personal injury cases do not belong in small claims court. This is because they often involve a lot more money than the maximum set out in the small claims court. The average car accident cases that find their way into the small claims court do not involve issues relating to personal injury but instead have to do with damage to one or both parties’ vehicles. The majority of these cases are hard-fought because both drivers believe that the other is at fault for the damages sustained.
As with all matters relating to personal injury, to recover compensation for one’s losses in the small claims court, it is necessary to prove that the other party was negligent and you were driving safely. Or that you were both negligent, but you were less careless in comparison to the other party. A key to proving one’s case is if the other driver was cited for a driving offence after the accident. When a citation has been issued to one driver after an accident, negligence is presumed.
It is important to note that the vehicle owner must file the claim for property damage on their vehicle, even in circumstances whereby someone else was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. The lawsuit is thus brought against the negligent driver of the vehicle. However, if the negligent driver does not own the vehicle, then the claim must be made against the vehicle's registered owner. To determine who the vehicle owner is, the plaintiff can contact the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with the vehicle's license number.
To ensure that your case is airtight, it is essential to consider the following factors:
- Witnesses - to ensure the judge knows what happened outside of the parties’ story regarding the accident, it is essential to have a good, credible witness. A good witness has the power to make or break your case. It is an excellent option to have a passerby or someone not connected to you as a witness rather than a relative or friend. However, it better to have a witness than not have one at all.
Police reports - call the police after the accident; this allows a police report to be prepared. The report is admissible in court, and the officer’s theory of how the accident happened is more credible than a third party.
Going to court is a daunting task for anyone. However, you can receive the best accident claims advice and representation from experienced attorneys