Small claims against insurance company

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Small claims against insurance company

I was recently involved in an auto accident; I was on a bicycle and was struck by a car. The insurance company for the other driver is only willing to pay out 80% of medical. If I go to small claims to resolve, the max is $5000 in my state. Would the medical costs be considered in this amount? Seeking 100% medical coverage and $5000 for pain and suffering. Can a judge grant medical coverage of $100 and $5000 out or $5000 out minus total medical costs equals remaining out to myself?

Asked on July 25, 2017 under Accident Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the insurer is not offering as much as you want, the only way to get more is, as you have realized, to sue. But the problem is:
1) The small claims maximum ($5,000) is the TOTAL you can get in the lawsuit for all claims for compenstion: e.g. medical costs plus pain and suffering plus lost wages (if any).
2) You recover pain and suffering, you need to hire a doctor or other medical expert to testify about your injuries--your non-expert, layperson testimony is not acceptable. Such an expert can easily cost $1,000 - $2,000, which cost you cannot recover in the lawsuit: you have to bear this cost yourself, which will clearly offset whatever you might otherwise win.

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