Making the choice between small claims court or a personal injury lawyer is a difficult decision—but, with the right information you can make an informed and relatively-easy one. To help you make that decision we’ve come up with a checklist, that can help you decide if small claims court or a personal injury lawyer is the right path for you.
Small Claims Court of Personal Injury Lawyer—the Must-Have Checklist
Not all personal injury cases need involvement by a professional personal injury attorney, some can be handled oneself in small claims court. Your personal injury case may be right for small claims court if…
You Have Weak Evidence
Cases with weak evidence, for whatever reason, are generally easier to win in small claims court than when you involve attorneys.
You Have Time Restraints
Small claims courts go to trial quicker than trials in higher courts. In fact most small claims court cases are processed within 3-6 months (depending on the current case load of your local small claims court), as opposed to 2 years+. So, if a small, quick payout is what you need to stay afloat in the short-term then small claims is your ticket.
Your Claim Value is (Relatively) Low
Personal injury claims under $25,000 are often best handled in small claims court, as the cost of a professional personal injury attorney will eat significantly into any monetary damages that are awarded.
How Much is My Claim Worth?
Understanding what your claim is worth is critical to deciding whether to go it alone in small claims courts or to involve the knowledge of a professional personal injury lawyer. When calculating your claim’s value you need to total your losses from medical expenses, care expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, past and future lost income, missed opportunities, damages for permanent disabilities and stress/emotional trauma (which can be difficult to prove).
So—Small Claims Court or Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’re still unsure whether small claims courts or using a personal injury lawyer is the right choice—meaning you’re unsure whether you should go for the small, quick payment or the more extensive trial or negotiations process—then give us a call. The experienced personal injury lawyers here at Jane Conte have worked with thousands of personal injury victims, and we can tell you over-the-phone, with no obligation if your claim is best taken to small claims court or whether you should pursue more in-depth litigation for a larger entitlement.