How To Take Action When You've Been Harmed: Understanding Your Choices

When harm visits you, there are many remedies. For crimes, the criminal courts will have their say. If the harmful action is not classified as a crime, victims can take action in civil court. Victims may seek justice using small claims court or in civil (or personal injury) court. It's easy to see why accident victims are sometimes confused about what steps to take to be paid compensation. For some help on these matters, read on and find out which court is best for your circumstances – small claims court or civil court.

Quick, Easy, and Low Money Damages

Small claims court cases are often featured on television and most of the time they really are just that casual. For those who want to represent themselves and want to get the whole thing over with quickly, small claims court might be right for you. Unfortunately, the money damages in small claims court, are, well, small. You may not get what you think you deserve by using this method. That is assuming that you know what you need when it comes to money damages and that is the big problem with small claims court. If you are wondering about your case, it's best to at least speak to a personal injury lawyer (some offer free consultations) to find out how much money you might be giving up if you don't take your case to regular civil court.

Personal Injury Settlements

Sandwiched between small claims and civil court are settlements. This method of being paid can be just as fast as small claims court but the amount you can be paid is only limited by your damages. The process works like this:

  1. Meet with a personal injury lawyer and let them review the facts of your case.
  2. The lawyer will let the other side know how much you need to be paid and why.
  3. The other side (or their insurer) makes you an offer and you accept.

Civil Court

If you have big damages and cannot settle your case, you may be bound for court. While this process can take longer, the judge has the power to compel payment far above

smalls claims and settlements. They can freeze bank accounts, garnish wages, and place liens on the defendant's property.

It's impossible to know which route to take without the help of a legal professional. Speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case and make the right decision on your case.