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

UPDATED: Jan 29, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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