A Plaintiff representing his/her self in a Small Claims auto collision case should prepare in advance a written “Statement of Damages” which lists, and asks for the following categories of damages separately:
The hardest part of a small claims court experience is often getting paid after winning the judgement. The Court will not collect a judgement for a litigant. The winner of a small claims court judgement must collect on their own.
The good news is that small claims court judgements are enforceable, and if done right, court orders and the Sheriffs Department can help collect a judgment.
To its great credit, the California Judicial Council has prepared a step by step guide, and excellent free forms to help small claims judgement creditors collect. All of their information is official government publication, free, detailed and well written.
Active duty service members can get a nearly automatic “stay” (pause) of any California small claims court proceeding, traffic ticket fine or collection action, or even finance contracts for the period of service plus up to 3 by law.
This stay in actions against service members is one of the many protections set forth in California’s Military and Veterans Code section 400 et seq. The two most important of those code sections may be section 401 and 403.
If you are on active duty somewhere, are a California resident or have a California court problem, the law says that you can get a stay for things like traffic ticket payment plans, scheduled court appearances, failure to appear penalties, repossessions, rental late fees and even credit card bills.
Defendants who are unhappy with a small claims court judgment have the right to appeal their case to the Superior Court for a new trial called a Trial De Novo. Although attorneys are not allowed to represent parties in most small claims court trials, attorneys are allowed (not required) in the Trial De Novos.
Here is the form a defendant needs from the California Judicial Council to appeal a small claims court judgment:
Additional Free Small Claims Court forms for many issues are available at: http://www.courts.ca.gov
The other day, an imaginary potential client named “Crash” walked into my imaginary office. He asked this common question uninsured drivers have after an auto accident:
I got into an auto accident earlier this year. The other driver sustained enough damage to need a new bumper, while my car was totaled. We exchanged information, no police came to the scene even though they were called. The following morning I found out my auto liability insurance lapsed and was terminated. I had minimal contact with the individual that was hit at first. I paid his deductible for his insurance.
Want to know how to reject an auto insurance company’s settlement offer on an auto accident claim? Here are some attorney tips.
Pretend you are sitting at a red light in your beautiful 64 Impala, Alpine blarin’. Suddenly, some dude talking on a cell phone rear ends you. You know he was talking on the phone because during the impact it flew out of his window, and broke your side mirror.
Hello auto insurance claim.
The back end of your car is crushed, and you suffer 1 week of pain and soreness, miss 3 days of work. Your estimate for repair of your vehicle is $5000, and you want payment for your injury.
Insurance defense attorneys are the experts at defending auto accident claims, big and small. They have a pattern for defending auto accident claims, damages, and negligence causes of action that you might be able to use to your own benefit if you have to represent yourself in small claims court.
Sadly, or happily depending on how you look at it, there are no Insurance Defense Attorneys to help you as a defendant in small claims court if you get sued for that fender bender at the mall.
Yes, the one where the dude says you dented his Harley sounding SUV.
Sure, he’s probably a good person somewhere. You heard he helps injured birds on weekends. But you dont give a crap. That suckerphish owes you $xx00.xx for those long distance charges on your home phone bill from the 80s, and $xx00 for those bounced rent checks. And you want your money no matter what, even if you have to get a judgment.
You finally got all of the small claims forms, printed them out, made a binder and a script for court, and showed up on time. As expected, defendant showed up, claiming “loss of memory” or some crap. But you did it! You sued his ASS and had a trial!
You can only expect one shot at presenting your case in Small Claims court. Realistically, in a busy urban courthouse, small claims trials may only get 15 or 20 minutes of live court time. As a result, preparing in advance is an activity that is well worth its time.
Being prepared for your small claims court trial can reduce your stress tremendously, and help you meet your case goals. How? Simple.To help, we offer the following info on some common small claims court mistakes that you can avoid with a little forethought and preparation.
Every day in Small Claims Courtrooms across the US, Plaintiffs in car crash claims make a common giant mistake. They fail to ask for all of the auto accident damages the law offers to them.
A failure to ask for all available damages means a plaintiff misses out, because judges can usually only award damages up to the amount a plaintiff claims in his or her complaint.
A plaintiff representing his/her self in a Small Clams auto collision case should prepare in advance a written “Statement of Damages” which lists, and asks for the following categories of damages separately: