Auto Accident Car (Property) Damage and Small Claims Court Action

When you are hurt in a Provo, Utah car accident, often your car is destroyed or damaged. You can’t work, and you don’t have a car. This is a serious dilemma for many, especially when you don’t have access to a rental car.
When the insurance company for the at-fault driver, or your own collision insurance is not making appropriate offers to fix your car, you can sue them in a Utah Small Claims court.
Small Claims Car Accident Damage Case:
Prior to 2013, if you sued the at-fault driver in Small Claims court for property damage only and you did not also bring your bodily injury claim, your injury claim would be lost. This is called claim preclusion and is still a long standing Utah principle.
The unsuspecting, unrepresented pro se party would bring a Small Claims action for car damage, but not know they also had to bring their injury claim. This would result in losing their bodily injury claim.
The particular statute reads:
78A-8-102. Small claims — Defined — Counsel not necessary — Removal from district court — Deferring multiple claims of one plaintiff — Supreme Court to govern procedures.
(5) Claims involving property damage to a motor vehicle may be maintained in small
claims actions, and any removal or appeal thereof, without limiting the ability of a plaintiff to make a claim for bodily injury against the same defendant in a separate legal action. In the event that property damage claim is brought as a small claims action:
(a) any liability decision in an original small claims action or appeal thereof is not binding in any separate legal action for bodily injury; and
(b) no additional property damage claims can be brought in any separate legal action for bodily injury.
If you feel that the insurance company in your car accident injury case is not valuing your car appropriately, and you can hold out long enough, suing the insurance company in Small Claims may be a good venue for proper compensation.
Call attorney Jacob S. Gunter if you have been in a car accident case. (801) 373-6345.