Who can appear for a plaintiff in small claims court?

Parked car gets damaged. Witness observes the whole incident and alerts driver of parked car. Person causing damage comes back after being contacted. Police report is filed; person admits to damaging parked vehicle. Can the owner of parked vehicle get power of attorney for specific person to seek reimbursement on his behalf in small claims court? This specific person is also designated driver on owners policy. Additionally, what can be collected in a suit – car repair, car rental, diminished value, inconvenience of driving in damaged car? What other expenses can be included. Other insurance offers low estimate.

Asked on December 5, 2010 under Accident Law, New Jersey


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, an Attorney or an Attorney in Fact (POA) can appear for you in small claims court as long as the POA allows them to do so (all purpose is the best but you can name it for this particular purpose as well).  I would also write a letter to the court indicating why there is a POA appearing for you.  AS for what you can recover, damages to car a yes, rental possibly if car was not drivable, inconvenience probably not and diminished value - hard to prove I think but you can try.  Were you reimbursed by insurance for anything?  That is a set off for the defendant.  Good luck.

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