If there are multiple parties involved in a small claims case, can the total amount be over the $10,000 limit?

In this case , there are two plaintiffs and two defendants in the lawsuit from the same incident . If each plaintiff claims $ 10 , 000 from both defendants , is it OK for the total amount to be $ 20 , 000 ?

Lincoln, CA -

Attorney Answers (3)

Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Litigation Lawyer - San Marino, CA
Answered

No, the maximum an individual plaintiff can recover is $10,000 per small claims court case. Here, each plaintiff would have to file a separate small claims action.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is... more
Robert Bruce Kopelson

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Personal Injury Lawyer - San Jose, CA
Answered

Safest thing to do is to have each pltf file 2 separate cases, one against each of the 2 defts. W/o more details, cant say whether the legal theoty would allow separate recovery against each deft. For example if 1 deft is the driver and hit you, and deft 2 is the owner of the veh and merely allowed deft 1 to use the car, deft 2 is vicariously liable for up to 15k for injury under the vehicle code. that would be reduced to either 10k the max in small claims court, or 7500.00 if it is a motor vehicle case and the defts have auto ins. Deft 2 could be separately/directly liable if he was negligent himslef by entrusting the veh to someone he knew was not competent to drive for example or for loaning his car to someone if he knew the brakes were defective. Then there is the issue of what damages you have, and if each deft was partially liable, how their liability percentages would affect the award of damages against each. I hope you get a small claims judge who understands these issues.

Malosack Berjis

Malosack Berjis

Litigation Lawyer - Los Angeles, CA
Answered

No--unfortunately, the total cannot be over the $10,000 limit. However, as my colleagues have already pointed out, each plaintiff should file their own separate suit. Best of luck to you.

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