Small claims (Magistrate Court) has a maximum authority of 15k, which is too small for your case. I suggest State Court instead if Superior Court since you don't need the equitable jurisdiction of the Superior Court and State Court is faster. If you win more than the 25k limits, and their driver has no assets, you will receive 25k. You may be able to recover more from your own ins. co. under-insurance provision if you have over 25k in such coverage and you notified them in time.
Disclaimer: This response is provided to you by attorney Robert G. Rothstein (404) 216-1422 for educational and informational purposes only.No attorney-client relationship has been created hereby. Other attorneys may have different opinions or responses. If you found this response helpful, please indicate Best Answer to Avvo. Thank you.
You need to find an attorney to take your case. Whenever, you are dealing with the insurance company without an attorney, you will not be treated fair. Our office handles these type of cases all of the time.
Darrell B. Reynolds,
Attorney and Counselor at Law
2385 Lawrenceville Highway, Ste D
Decatur, Ga. 30033
By trying to handle the case yourself from the start you have already given the insurance company the impression you don't take the case seriously. By filing in SMALL CLAIMS court you put the final nail in the coffin of anyone taking it seriously. Watch Judge Judy and see the kind of nonsense they handle there. Hire one of the good AVVO attorneys in your state. Here is how to fix your case and fix it ASAP: BLUE LINK BELOW
Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.
With $11,000 in medical expenses your case should be worth more than the $15,000 jurisdictional limit of Magistrate Court. You have 2 years from the date of the accident in which to file suit, and if filed in State Court, discovery typically is given 6 months after filing, Magistrate Court does not typically allow for discovery. You definitely need to consult with an attorney, and the sooner the better. Don't short change yourself.
I have handled numerous cases like yours on behalf of the insurance companies, now I handle them for individuals like you. Fell free to call my office and arrange for a free consultation.
The offer is likely a function of either or both:
1. dealing with a local insurer (as opposed to a national carrier) who only writes 25k policies. They tend to make offers like that.
2. The damage to the cars involved was not serious. Anything under $1,500 can cause you trouble.
That said if the other driver received a traffic ticket, the 2 year statute can be tolled (extended) for the number of days it took for the ticket to resolve. We recently had a case where we successfully argued that the defendant's failure to appear on the ticket meant the statute was still tolled after three years.
If the damage to the cars is real and the treatment is not chiropractic, We would consider filing it for you. Be very careful winging it. The State and Superior Courts are filled with mines for the unwary.
You do not need to be making decisions like this without a lawyer. And you don't need to be getting advice from lawyers on where to file your case without retaining one of them. Keep calling around. There are plenty of lawyers who will take a case with $11,000 in special damages and there is insurance. Find someone fast before your statute of limitations runs out. You have two years from the date of the injury to file suit.
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