Under California Code of Civil Procedure §116.224, the small claims court has jurisdiction in an action brought by a natural person for damages for bodily injuries resulting from an automobile accident if the amount of the demand does not exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500).
In addition, this section applies if the defendant is covered by an automobile insurance policy that includes a duty to defend.
While small claims court is informal many people not familar with the law focus on facts that are not relevant to their case, are nervous or even just have a hard time organizing and putting information in a logical and orderly presentation.
Being injured is bad enough but to add insult to injury people are often told by an insurance adjuster that there was no way you could have been injured or that you only have a “soft tissue injury” or “just whiplash.”
The overlooked and maybe not obvious truth is that “soft tissue injuries” can mean pain from injury to tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and only a doctor, not an insurance adjuster, is qualified to give you a medical diagnosis.
As for the claim that the car was going to slow to cause any injury, this is also not true.
“The speed of the cars involved in the accident or the amount of physical damage to the car may not relate to the intensity of neck injury; speeds as low as 15 miles per hour can produce enough energy to cause whiplash in occupants, whether or not they wear seat belts.” Article by Dr. John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP, at http://www.emedicinehealth.com/whiplash/page2_em.htm)
“Common symptoms of whiplash injury include neck pain, headaches, blurred vision, tinnitus, dizziness, concussion and numbness. Some of these symptoms are consistent with damage to the cervical muscles, ligaments and vertebrae while others are more difficult to explain since there are no lesions present on x-ray, CT scan or MRI” (Citation at ”Effects of Head Restraint Position on Neck Injury in Rear Impact” by Emily Sun presented at the Traffic Safety and Auto Engineering Stream of the Whiplash-Associated Disorders World Congress 7-l 1 February 1999, Vancouver, Canada, which is available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/
If you’ve been injured you’re entitled to compensation and we can help. We can’t represent you in Small Claims Court, but you can hire us to help you make your best case. You know the insurance companies will be doing their best and so should you.