SMALL CLAIMS: An Option
Sometimes, a Small Claims lawsuit is the answer. If you have a dispute over an amount that is less than $7,500, you can expedite a resolution via Small Claims. For example, let us assume you were in a minor auto accident and you were not injured. However, the person responsible, who also lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, did not have insurance. The cost to repair your vehicle is $2,500. That person is refusing to pay you. You can file a small claims suit in the Las Vegas Justice Court. The first step is to send a letter to have evidence that you tried to get paid. I recommend a certified letter even if the person orally told you that they are not going to pay. If the at-fault person refuses to pay after the certified letter is sent, you can file a lawsuit. Because we in the age of the computer, we now have to submit everything electronically. If you need help with such, there is a great Self-Help information area in the Regional Justice Center. Since the cost of repair is $2,500, you will be requesting that amount plus costs (filing fees and service fees, etc.) NOTE: if you hire an attorney for small claims, you will not be reimbursed for attorney fees. There are no attorney fees awarded in small claims. After you file, you can hire a service processor to serve your complaint for a small fee. Those fees are reimbursed if you win. Once your complaint is served, the matter is set for mandatory mediation. At mediation you will try to resolve you case. If that does not work, you will be scheduled for a court date. My suggestion is be prepared for court. Bring copies of the police report, letters, estimates of repair, etc. Be ready to give copies to the defendant and the judge. As a plaintiff it is your responsibility to show the judge that you are owed funds. If things go your way, the judge will award you the repair costs, the filing fees, the service fees, and possibly other costs associated with the lawsuit. [NOTE: in this case, you should also advise the DMV about the accident and inform them of the individual driving without insurance. The DMV suspends registration and/or licenses of people driving without insurance].[NOTE: this blog is not offered as legal advice. Any information is for discussion purposes only and there is no attorney-client relationship formed. Keep in mind that this blog only gives general legal information. Each case is unique and accurate legal advice would require review of all details and documents for each specific case. It is possible that the comments here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate].