Guidelines for Suing in Small Claims Court
Suffering an injury at the hands of another individual can lead to serious physical and emotional harm. Unfortunately, these types of injuries can also cause you to incur substantial medical costs, endure pain and suffering, and miss out on work. One way to get compensation for your injuries is to request damages in small claims court. It’s essential to understand what you can and can’t do with a small claims action before you decide how to proceed with your case.
Understanding Small Claims Court in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, personal injury actions can only be brought in small claims court if you’re asking for $5,000 or less in damages. Personal injury cases can be initiated if an injury was the result of either negligent or intentionally harmful actions by another party. Injuries that warrant action in small claims court can include those caused by
• motor vehicle accidents,
• unsafe conditions in a commercial or retail setting,
• poor residential maintenance,
• pet attacks,
• intentional acts of violence and
• other types of accidents.
You must be considered a mentally competent person and must be either 18 or an emancipated minor to bring your action in small claims court. You can represent yourself in court or you can hire an attorney to represent you. If you were injured at work, you likely cannot bring a small claims action. You’ll need to go through the worker’s compensation claim process instead.
Should You File Your Personal Injury Suit in Small Claims Court?
Imagine that you were injured in a car accident with a driver from Indianapolis. The other driver’s insurance policy may cover some of your medical costs or compensate you for damage to your car, but most insurance companies simply won’t offer you what you deserve. You also won’t receive any automatic compensation for suffering or lost wages.
Instead, you’ll need to fight for compensation in court. If you believe that you’re owed $5,000 or less, it makes sense to bring your action in small claims court. If you think that you’re owed more than $5,000 or if you are unsure of how long you’ll need to receive medical treatment for your injuries, you will need to bring a personal injury lawsuit.
An attorney can help you in both situations. While you may be able to argue your personal injury case in small claims court, it’s important to remember that personal injury law is complex. You’ll need to understand the legal definition of negligence and be able to prove that you didn’t cause or contribute to your injury. A law firm with experience in personal injury actions can handle these tasks for you.
Do you need help evaluating your personal injury case? Contact us at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald today to set up a consultation.