I don't like small claims court because an appeal is "de novo" and that basically undoes any judgment you get in magistrate (small claims) court. It is true that magistrate has jurisdiction up to $15k, but again, whatever judgment you get can be easily appealed and basically you have to start all over again. I like State court over Superior court if the county has one (not all do). Good luck my friend. Russell Keener
Your claim, based on the facts presented, appears to be worth significantly
more than 15k. I would recommend contacting a personal injury attorney to
represent you in this matter. Please contact me with any questions.
Aaron Marks, Esq.
The Marks Law Group, LLC
103 W. Dearborn Circle
Decatur, GA 30030
Before proceeding further, I would strongly suggest that you speak with an attorney. Most attorneys that handle claims like this, such as myself, do not charge you a fee up front and only charge a fee if you recover. During a free consultation, you can get a better evaluation of your claim and decide whether it would be in your best interest to retain the attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
You could proceed in Magistrate Court (small claims court) without an attorney, but it is advisable to speak with an attorney who can explain the signficant benefits of being represented in a case like this. And, if you prevail you still have to deal with possible appeals (which starts the case over in a higher court), collection, etc.
Feel free to call me at (678) 275-4000 to discuss your case in more detail.
DISCLAIMER: This answer does not constitute legal advice and no attorney client relationsip has been, or will be, created until a valid engagement agreement is signed. No duty arises from this posting. Answers posted here are general and made with limited knowledge of the actual facts of your case. Always speak with an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction if you wish legal advice specific to your case.
Nothing could be worse that doing this pro se in Magistrates Court. First of all, in the unlikely evet you can beat insurance company lawyers, there can be a de novo appeal which retries the whole case in Superior Court.
Second, insurers typically offer far less to parties without lawyers.
Third, by doing small claims you eliminate the possibility of a larger pain and suffering award.
Every contact you have had with the insurer has likely already hurt your case. Since you can talk to a lawyer for free, assuming that you have a good case, don't compromise it further and do retain counsel.
If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you. Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.
My question to you is, if you needed brain surgery, would you perform it on yourself using a mirror while laying on your own kitchen table? I think not. Why would you attempt to handle the ins and outs of your own personal injury claim when you do not have the benefit of legal training or court experience? Do you know how to respond to Defendants' motions for summary judgment? Do you know the rules of evidence? Do you know how to prepare a Dr. to give important medical/legal testimony in support of your claim?
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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