Small claims courts are essentially small claims parts of local courts (city, town or village justice courts) that are situated in municipalities around the states. They are the judicial venues that resolve disputes between two individuals or conflicts that involve minimal amounts of money, which are usually less than $10,000.
Also called justice courts, small claims courts acquire jurisdiction over numerous kinds of personal injury lawsuits. They assign time limits for filing lawsuits involving injury settlements and debt payoffs.
Each state has a different statute of limitation for small claim personal injury cases. In some states, the statutory clocks begin ticking when the victim becomes aware of the injury they have suffered, or when facts that will cause a reasonable person to suspect negligence on the part of someone else come to light. In other states, small claims courts technically do not have statutes of limitations. The kind of cases heard decide on the issue of statute of limitations, while the court itself only provides the limit on the amount that can be claimed.
Still, the application of these prescription periods can be contested in court. Even if the case may first appear baseless, the plaintiff can still challenge the period and may be granted an extended time because of extenuating circumstances. The plaintiff can also file a motion to file a late claim if he indeed failed to comply with the time limitations.
Another option is to file a Notice of Intention as a Claim. This remedy is available when a claimant fails to timely serve a claim but merely reserves the right to file in the future. There are substantial bodies of case laws (jurisprudence) and statutes that can interpret whether a ground to grant these motions is reasonable or not.
It is also probable to be saved from the harsh effects of a statute of limitation by arguing that it has been “tolled”. This simply means that a significant occurrence has stopped the statute from running for a specific time. The usual reasons for tolling a statue of limitation include incapacities of the victim to sue such as bankruptcy, mental incompetence and minority. The tolling shall only stop when the incapacity is resolved or lifted.
If you have been a victim of personal injury and you think your case is already barred, consult a personal injury attorney. Only he can resolve your queries on filing a small personal injury claim that is beyond the statutes of limitation.
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