If you sustain damages or minor injuries because of someone else’s negligence, you may consider bringing your injury claim before the Massachusetts small claims court.
The Massachusetts small claims court is not considered a separate court, as it actually operates under special sessions of the District Court, and therefore has its own benefits and restrictions. For example, the amount of damages sought cannot exceed $2,000 in order to qualify for consideration in a Massachusetts claims court. If your medical bills and other expenses are more than $2,000 you’ll need to file a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit in a different court.
There is an exception to this rule. Property damage sustained in a Massachusetts car accident cannot exceed $2,000 in small claims court, but the court can consider statutory damages or attorney fees that are above the $2,000 limit. Yet, even in these cases, the base amount of your initial claim must still be below $2,000.
Bringing a Claim to Massachusetts Small Claims Court
Massachusetts small claims court is structured so that the parties involved can seek legal remedies in an effective and inexpensive manner. Filing fees for any claims totaling less than $500 are $30 and any injury claims seeking more than $500 have a $40 filing fee.
Civil court statutes also apply to Massachusetts small claims court, so be sure that the statute of limitations has not expired before filing your injury claim. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations covering personal injury claims is 3 years, although there are some exceptions to this rule.
When you’re filing a claim in Massachusetts small claims court, you must do so in the district where you live or work, or where the defendant lives or works. If you incurred damages from someone who works in Boston, it may serve your case to file in the Boston small claims court. Your lawyer should help you determine the best area to file your injury claim.
The most important filing information to obtain is the defendant’s proper address.
If you file a claim without the defendant’s proper address, your injury claim will be dismissed.
Unfortunately, you cannot sue a public employee in Massachusetts small claims court, which means any lawsuit brought against a public employee, state agency, city or town must be filed in Superior Court.
Massachusetts Personal Injury Claims
Even for a small claim, it is usually wise to seek a legal consultation before filing a Massachusetts small claims court notice. A good example is if your Massachusetts injury claim occurred as the result of a car accident.
A Massachusetts personal injury lawyer can look at the specifics of your case, advise you on where to file your claim, and represent your best interests in court. In your “Statement of Small Claim” form, you can ask that your attorney fees be included in the total amount of damages you are seeking.