I understand that small claims courts in NY only hear cases in the city/county where the defendant is located. But other courts have "jurisdictional minimums" for the amount in dispute. My car was damaged in an accident in NY. The cost to repair (less than $3,000) would put the case in small claims court. But the defendant lives in New Jersey. So in what NY court can I start the lawsuit? FYI the other driver's insurer has made only unreasonably low settlement offers, and I do not have collision insurance so it is up to me and not my own insurer to try to resolve this.
Call the Small Claims Court and see if you can serve the defendant via the Secretary of State and subsequent mailing. An out of state driver is deemed to making the Secretary of State his agent for service of process under Vehicle and Traffic Law section 253.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 18 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
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