So, you’ve suffered a minor injury and a little damage to your car in a car accident and want to try to deal with the insurance company on your own. How do you file and collect on a minor car accident?
First, remember that if you’ve been involved in a serious car accident with catastrophic injuries you should call an experienced personal injury trial attorney like the Law Office of William W. Hurst.
A large percentage of automobile accidents are minor. In many cases the police are not even called to the scene to fill out a report. Many of these accidents result in short term soreness that will go away after a few days or weeks. However, even a quick trip to the Emergency Room or a follow up with your primary care doctor can cost hundreds of dollars in medical expenses and missed time from work.
Additionally, there may be expensive costs associated with vehicle repairs. You can’t forget other costs that can stack up quickly like Towing and Rental Car. Many insurance policies have a deductible and you might still have to pay some money out of pocket.
This could be a major problem for your family because while it might be a “minor car accident” the costs that come with it could be upwards of a few thousand dollars. A few thousand dollars is just a drop in the bucket for a large insurance company but can be a rent or car payment for your family.
Hiring a lawyer might be out of the question too, because most lawyers will charge an average of $250 - $300.00 an hour and could spend 5 to 10 hours working on your case. When it is all said and done you may have recovered $3,000.00 in a small claims court action but paid the lawyer all of it. Insurance companies know all of this and they use that to their advantage by refusing to pay or paying much less than the value of a claim.
The first thing that you must do is call the insurance company and make a claim. The Law Office of William W. Hurst has a quick reference guide to filing a claim with the insurance companies. These important steps can include:
However, if you have done all of the things that are required of you by the insurance policy and you continue to have problems resolving your claim then there are other options that you could pursue. The most common option is Small Claims Court.
Luckily, almost all States in the United States have instituted what are more commonly called “Small Claims Courts” to help non-lawyers collect on smaller claims without having to spend thousands of dollars on lawyers. Many of these Small Claims Courts are geared towards helping non-lawyers so a substantial knowledge of legal procedure is not necessary sometimes.
In almost all Jurisdictions, Small Claims Courts are Courts that are established to handle a multitude of cases and legal actions that involve damages less than a set dollar amount. For example, in Indianapolis, IN (Marion County, Indiana), Small Claims Jurisdiction is limited to cases there the claim for damages does not exceed $6,000.00. If you’ve been involved in a minor Car Accident in Indianapolis, Indiana and would like to file a small claims court action you must first determine if your TOTAL damages are less than $6,000.00. These damages include property damages, medical bills, lost wages and intangibles, such as pain and suffering.
Next, you have to determine what township to file the case in. While the City of Indianapolis and Marion County have been consolidated for a number of purposes the individual townships still exist and one of their functions is to handle these small claims cases. Indianapolis is divided into 9 townships and you will generally file your small claims case in the township where the accident occurred.
The State of Indiana offers a Small Claims Court Manual to non-lawyers that provide important information on the general procedure for making a Small Claims Court claim in Indiana. The Manual is a handy guide that takes the pro se litigant through every step in the Small Claims Process. It is important to note that in Marion County, Indiana, all Small Claims Court cases have an automatic right to appeal to the County Superior Courts.
You must also remember that every Small Claims Court has Procedural Rules which can usually be found online. Indiana’s Small Claims Court Rules provide you with important deadline dates and procedural information. Remember the rules are not the same as the Manual which simply provides guidance to non-lawyers for litigating small claims cases. You can even find a brief instructional video on the State of Indiana website which briefly explains the Small Claims Court Process.
If you are filing a Small Claims Court action in Marion County, Indiana then you should refer to the City of Indianapolis Small Claims Court website. It is filled with important information and forms regarding how to proceed with a Small Claims Court case in Indianapolis.
Remember that every state has some form of a Small Claims Court and many of them can be located and found online while most of those have posted their rules and manuals online.
To sum up, Small Claims Courts are a good option for those of you that have been involved in a Minor Car Accident and would like to resolve the claim without hiring an attorney. Small Claims Courts are found across the United States and they require some limitation on the amount of damages that you claim. Go online and research the small claims courts in your state and county, chances are that you will find a tremendous amount of information regarding the process and perhaps even an easy to read manual that guides you through every step in the process. Never forget to ask for help from Small Claims Court staff because they are used to dealing with non-lawyers and can usually help answer all of your questions.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a car accident contact an experienced attorney immediately. Car accidents require quick and experienced legal and investigative response to preserve any evidence and help present your case in the best light possible. Our attorneys are experienced at helping injured people receive the financial compensation they need after their injuries. Contact the Car Accident Attorneys at the Indianapolis Law Office of William “Bill” Hurst or call us toll free at (800) 636-0808 for a free consultation. http://billhurst.com. �Hablamos Español!