Should I take him to small claims court or to the Superior Court for damages?

Asked about 1 year ago - Sacramento, CA

I was hit while riding my bicycle one morning. I was headed west while the other person was going north. The person driving did not stop and he did not see me. According to the attorney I had he also did not have insurance the day of the accident. I was taken to the hospital as a result of the accident and as of today my hopital bills are 14,000. Because he did not have insurance the day of the accident, the attorney that I had, informed me that she could not take my case anymore and would have to go to a small claims. Now I am trying to get into contact with her but she is not answering my calls. My damages total more that small claims can give out and I wanted to know what can I do? I have collectors calling me. With the job I have I make less than $100 a week and I just feel lost. Help!

Attorney answers (13)

  1. Robert Bruce Kopelson

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You need to have an atty who can look for any coverage for you perhaps under your own auto ins if you had some. If you were residing with a relative at the time, and they had auto ins which didn't specifically exclude you, you may have a source of payment under that policy um coverage.

  2. Adam Jay Jaffe

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . As an attorney that spends a LOT if time in Small Claims court, I get this question a lot. Just because you CAN go to Small Claims, does not mean that you should. Your case is not about whether you will win in court, but rather assuming you win, CAN you collect on the judgment.

    As you are in Sacramento, there should be a personal injury lawyer that would be willing to take your case on contingency. In the interim, find a way to work out a payment plan with your creditors. But you REALLY need to find a lawyer and NOT file in Small Claims. You will waive too many rights that you do not know that you have.

    Adam Jaffe Law Office of Adam Jay Jaffe 124 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, #204 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (619) 810-7964... more
  3. Asmik Jasmine Gevorkyan

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . You may call any of the attorneys on this site for a consultation. Most of us offer free initial consultation. If your mother has uninsured motorist coverage you are most likely going to be covered. I recently had a very similar case, except my client was a pedestrian, who was covered by his household member's uninsured motorist coverage. Have one of the attorneys on Avvo look at your mom's policy. Good luck.

    Jasmine Gevorkyan
    818-497-8565 direct

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The... more
  4. Daniel Nelson Deasy

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You need a personal injury attorney and you need to pursue damages in the court that allows you to receive just compensation.

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship.... more
  5. David Ian Schoen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Was he charged with driving without insurance? Maybe you can get victims compensation through a criminal proceeding against him. If you own a vehicle and have uninsured motorist coverage you can collect under your own policy. It wasn't right for your attorney to abandon you under these circumstances. I am sure she did not take the case "only of the driver had insurance." In most states if you do not let her go voluntarily, she would have to apply to the court to be relieved and might not be permitted to do so under these facts.

  6. David C. Lane

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . Do you have vehicle insurance? Are you a minor? Do you live in a household in which an individual owns a vehicle and vehicle insurance? Are you married? Does your partner have vehicle insurance?

    These are all unanswered questions that could help determine whether or not there is liability insurance coverage that will help compensate you for your injuries. Contact a personal injury as soon as possible and explain your situation. An attorney can investigate your claim to determine if there is insurance coverage. Call right away.

  7. Tatiana Kadetskaya

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . Have a local lawyer check the insurance coverage before you do anything

  8. Michael R Crosner

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Consult another local personal injury attorney to fully investigate all avenues of other coverage. Perhaps the other driver was not the registered owner or was within the scope of employment for another or other car has uninsured motorist coverage etc etc. Good luck

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney .... more
  9. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . More information is needed to properly evaluate. Have one of the above lawyers in your state investigate coverage

  10. Robert William Finnerty

    Contributor Level 4

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    Answered . I recommend taking him to the Superior Court for damages. You can only receive up to $7,500 in small claims court and, although, it is far less expensive than going to the Superior Court, you would only receive a little over half of the amount in damages that you are asking for. You also would not be able to go back to small claims court at any time during this calendar year because of the large amount you are suing for.

  11. Robert Joseph Kaiser

    Contributor Level 8

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    Answered . I'm sorry to hear about your situation. For purposes of answering your question, I will first assume that the liability determination is clearly in your favor - because you don't mention there being any question about who is at fault. Hopefully, you have a favorable Traffic Collision Report with an admission of fault or favorable witness statements. My immediate advice is that you really need to speak with another personal injury attorney and go over the facts thoroughly before doing anything on your own. Most personal injury attorneys will welcome a phone call and be willing to discuss your situation with you free of charge. If you were calling me for a consultation, I would immediately suspect that the prior attorney is ignoring the case because there is an issue with "recoverability". What I mean by "recoverability" is finding a source of money to compensate you for your damages. Is there insurance that will apply to your situation? You need to discuss with an attorney the investigation that has been done to date to find a source of money to compensate you for the damages you have suffered. Even though you were on a bicycle, if you have auto insurance with uninsured motorist coverage, that coverage may apply to this case. Also, if you do not have your own auto insurance, but are a member of a household of someone who does have auto insurance with uninsured motorist coverage, their insurance may apply to cover your damages. You really need to get solid legal advice regarding "recoverability" before you take any action on your own. Good luck.

  12. Manuel Alzamora Juarez

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You may be able to make a claim against your own insurance company. Hire an attorney near you to help you.. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de... more
  13. Debra Fink Bogaards

    Contributor Level 3

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You can still file a lawsuit in court, and pursue money for your damages directly from the defendant. But if the defendant is broke, then it may not be worth it. Instead, you can hire a service like Garretson
    resolutions to negotiate down the amount of our medical liens.

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