Can 2 people file separate small claims for expenses suffered from an accident ifthe total of both claims is over $7,500?

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Can 2 people file separate small claims for expenses suffered from an accident ifthe total of both claims is over $7,500?

My mother and I were injured when the car we were in was rear-ended. We would like to separately file for damages and expenses suffered. None of our individual claims is over $7,500 but the total of what we are seeking is.

Asked on January 29, 2012 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you may each sue separately in small claims for up to the jurisdicational limit (e.g. up to $7,500). Make sure that each of you IS suing separately--file two separate lawsuits. (The defendant may move to consolidate them later, but that will not affect the fact that you filed them as separate individuals.) Also, each must claim for separate damages, which is critical. For example: say the car suffered $5,000 of damages--the car's owner can recover that, but not the other person. Say you jointly incurred a cost of $800 to rent a car while this car was being fixed--even if you split the cost, the most that could be sued for is the total cost of $800. However, you can and should each sue for your own medical costs, lost wages, etc.


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