Skip to main content

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

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

Posted

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. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

12 lawyers agree

Posted

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.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

12 lawyers agree

2 comments

Asker

Posted

On the police report it stated that he had insurance. But upon further investigation by my ex attorney, it was founded that he did not. I o not own or drive a vehicle unfortunately. And I am single. My attorney left me a message two days before my hospital bills were due and said that she could no longer help me. She also sent me to chirplopractor visits. And it was her who suggested i go to small claims court.

David Ian Schoen

David Ian Schoen

Posted

What does your retainer agreement say?

Posted

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.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

13 lawyers agree

2 comments

Asker

Posted

I live with my mother who has auto insurance, but I am not licensed to drive. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer!

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Posted

If you can send me a copy of the declarations of coverage for your mother's auto insurance in effect at the time of the crash, as well as the police report (if there is one), the itemized medical bills, and the other attys file which hopefully documents that the other driver had no ins, Ill review it all for you at no charge to see if there is something we can do for you. If I take the case, it will be on a contingency fee. Please advise of the date of the crash. If you have the medical records from the ambulance, hospital, and any other treatment, please send it. If you have your mother's actual ins policy booklet, send that too. The more I have, the more thorough my review. You can scan and email to kopelaw@hotmail.com, fax to 408-293-4000, or mail to 75 E. Santa Clara #1180, San Jose, Ca. 95113 If you mail, please keep copies of whatever you mail, in case it gets lost in the mail. You only have 2 yrs to file a claim or suit. Robert

Posted

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.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

12 lawyers agree

2 comments

Asker

Posted

No vehicle insurance, I am not a minor and I am not married. My mother has vehicle insurance for her car however but I doubt that she would help me. She is advising me to let it go but I refuse to. This is my future I am talking about if I dont pay. And thank you for your suggestion to find another attorney. I appreciate everyones advice on here. Thank you so much. It gives me the courage to not give up.

David C. Lane

David C. Lane

Posted

I admire your determination. This is your financial and physical well-being on the line and most attorneys will talk to you free of charge. Call a personal injury attorney in your city and explain your situation. Be candid about the insurance coverage issues and open about the facts so that the attorney can openly investigate whether there is insurance coverage. If there is not you may have to file a civil suit against the person that hit you. You may win at trial, but it might be difficult to recover the judgment if the individual that hit you has little or no assets. Call a personal injury attorney right away.

Posted

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

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

12 lawyers agree

1 comment

Christian K. Lassen II

Christian K. Lassen II

Posted

good call

Posted

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

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

10 lawyers agree

Posted

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 www.smallclaimsappeals.com Adam@AdamJayJaffe.com This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice". Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different states.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

12 lawyers agree

2 comments

Asker

Posted

I appreciate your advuce Adam. I had just finished writing a letter demanding payment from the person who hit me but your answer gave me pause. I will have to find another attorney ASAP. I just figured small claims since that was what my ex attorney had advised me.

Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jay Jaffe

Posted

Most lawyers know about Small Claims. Most know that it is faster and less expensive that Superior Court. Most do not realize the nuances involved with Small Claims. Can you proceed here. YES, you can. However, if you can proceed with a lawyer NOT in Small Claims, I think you will be better served.

Posted

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 . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

10 lawyers agree

Posted

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. Good luck.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

11 lawyers agree

Posted

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 Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

7 lawyers agree

Posted

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.

Mark as helpful

8 lawyers agree

1 comment

Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jay Jaffe

Posted

Though I MOSTLY agree, the limitation on Small Claims is: 2 cases, in excess of $2,500 in any calendar year. (CCP 116.231.) Just want to make sure I read correctly.

Posted

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.

Mark as helpful

8 lawyers agree

Posted

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.

Mark as helpful

4 lawyers agree

Traffic tickets topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics