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  1. #1
    Lantech is offline Junior Member
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    Pain and Suffering in Small Claims Court??

    I live in Oregon. I was told by a clerk that Pain and suffering isn't paid in Small Claims court... is that true?

    situation;
    We were rear ended by a young kid who has lied to his insurance company saying we pulled out in front of him. We didn't, I had come to a complete stop and just took my foot off the brake to move again when he hit us.... Fortunately in Oregon the have "personal injury protection" on all insurance. Meaning your insurance pays up to $25,000 for the first year per person for medical etc. no matter who is at fault. That got us throuh almost all of our Chiropractic treatment etc....

    since the accident my insurance company has already won inter-company arbitration and got their money back for my vehicle damage, the medical is still "pending" but the agent said they won so easy, it's a given they will get that.

    Due to money and possible lawyer fees, I filed in Small claims court to collect expenses (milage - medical) that wasn't paid by the PIP coverage and for pain and suffering...

    I am concerned that All I will get is the actual expenses and no pain and suffering. Medical bills were in excess of $7000, all paid by PIP. I am suing for max in small claims $5000. I have about $1500 in unpaid expenses.

    Can I get pain and suffering in small claims court? I would like to assume the judge would award me something because it's obvious the kid is lying (street he says I came out of is a dead end and I just picked up my passengers elsewhere).

    Thanks
    Worried...
  2. #2
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    [QUOTE=Lantech]I live in Oregon. I was told by a clerk that Pain and suffering isn't paid in Small Claims court... is that true?[quote]
    Yep. Small claims is a money court only.

    I have about $1500 in unpaid expenses.
    And what was the source of those expenses.

    Can I get pain and suffering in small claims court?
    No.
  3. #3
    Lantech is offline Junior Member
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    answers

    expenses from....
    Milage to and from the Doctors office, chiropractic visits not paid by the Personal injury protection (PIP) after the 1 year limit.

    Why wouldn't pain and suffering be allowed? "It says an action for the recovery of money, damages...." Aren't damages considered emotional, physical, etc?
  4. #4
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lantech
    Why wouldn't pain and suffering be allowed? "It says an action for the recovery of money, damages...." Aren't damages considered emotional, physical, etc?
    Though 'pain and suffering' are considered 'special damages', they are not compensible in the small claims 'arena'.

    In Oregon:
    Small claims court can only award money (up to $5,000 plus court costs) and/or the recovery of personal property. You cannot ask the court to order the defendant to do anything, or to refrain from doing something. If you need an order to make someone do something or to stop doing something, other courts are available.
    Source: [url]http://www.osbar.org/public/pamphlets/smallclaims.html[/url]
  5. #5
    Lantech is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy Thanks

    Well, it looks like I will at least get my milage and additional medical costs re-imbursed.... I still don't understand why small claims does not allow pain and suffering though at least up to the limits of $5000... No where does it actually state that you can't collect them. Damages are damages. Doesn't that mean I am getting short changed on my rights? I was originally told by a lawyer that I still have a right pain and suffering under small claims, just limited. Not that every lawyer is right though...

    but then again, Traffic court doesn't have to meet with full legal requirements either....

    Thanks for your input... I'll still ask for them.. I'll let everyone know how it turns out.
  6. #6
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lantech
    Well, it looks like I will at least get my milage and additional medical costs re-imbursed
    Possibly.

    I still don't understand why small claims does not allow pain and suffering though at least up to the limits of $5000... No where does it actually state that you can't collect them. Damages are damages. Doesn't that mean I am getting short changed on my rights?
    Go ahead and request them from the court. Just be prepared to have the court reject them.
  7. #7
    seniorjudge Guest
    Q: Well, it looks like I will at least get my milage and additional medical costs re-imbursed....

    A: Small claims is for direct damages, such as unpaid bills. The damages must be those that are liquidated, meaning there is a certain dollar amount. Mileage is iffy; additional medical costs may be compensable.


    Q: I still don't understand why small claims does not allow pain and suffering though at least up to the limits of $5000... No where does it actually state that you can't collect them. Damages are damages.

    A: No, damages are not damages. You don't get a bill from someone for pain and damages. That is an unliquidated damage.


    Q: Doesn't that mean I am getting short changed on my rights?

    A: No, you do not have to use the small claims court.


    Q: I was originally told by a lawyer that I still have a right pain and suffering under small claims, just limited. Not that every lawyer is right though...

    A: There may be some law in your state that allows this but I doubt it. That's not the purpose of small claims courts.


    Read that pamphlet that JETX pointed you too thoroughly.
  8. #8
    Lantech is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy

    Thanks for your responses. They do seem to make sense, just hoping right now it's not the case...

    I was in a dilema when I filed, mainly due to procrastination. I waited too close to the deadlines to make it easy to find a lawyer.

    It was basically risk losing about $1500 in lawyer fees (that I didn't have) to sue in civil court and "maybe" get enough of a settlement to break even, OR file in small claims at get maybe half of what I hoped for. The legal system really sucks at this point... It costs so much to get your rights covered, you may have to give them up.....

    Worst case scenario is that I win, get my court fees (filing and service fees) back and awarded nothing but actual expenses... Could be worse....

    If I don't win, I;m only out about $200
  9. #9
    Lantech is offline Junior Member
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    I got an answer from a judges clerk

    Well here is the tentative answer so far, from a small claims judges clerk...
    Oregon does allow pain and suffering in Small claims court as long as the total is under $5000. This normally excludes all pain and suffering cases. BUT while it is allowed he hasn't seen it given in 13 years...

    So there is HOPE, but not high hopes...

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