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Ches Crosbie Barristers

Why Increasing Monetary Limits Of Small Claims Act To Highest In Country Is A Good Thing

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Minister of Justice Felix Collins has introduced a bill aimed at bringing the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court from $5,000, the lowest in the country, to $25,000, the highest in the country. This is a good thing. The Small Claims Court is designed to be user friendly and to permit claims to proceed without the expense of hiring a lawyer.

A person injured in an accident who wants to make a claim for compensation should ask, do I even need a lawyer? In our experience, in a $25,000, $20,000, or even $12,000 claim, it is. The reason is that if a claim is an insurance claim, the adjuster or defence lawyer will typically make a low-ball offer, well below what the claim should be worth if it were properly negotiated.  Remember, the adjuster for the at-fault party is not your friend, and is not working for you - they are working for the insurance company.

We have found that clients are better off to have hired us to negotiate their settlement, even after paying fees, than they would have been if they had not hired us. So a good personal injury lawyer can definitely add value.

But if you have a claim with a value up to $25,000 and you want to "do it yourself", you can now do it yourself. It is good to have a choice.

Hi Ches: Great information. Nova Scotia also has a Small Claims Court limit of $25,000.00. Does Small Claims in NL have jurisdiction to award damages for pain and suffering? If so perhaps your readers should be aware of a "trap" that our courts in NS recently dealt with. In NS Small Claims was limited to just $200 for pain and suffering. It was common place for victims to sue themselves in Small Claims for property damage and have their lawyer file a separate lawsuit in Supreme Court for personal injury damages. Our Court of Appeal recently ruled in Kameka v. Williams that the practice was barred by res judicata. Just a heads up for your readers. John McKiggan
Posted by John McKiggan on May 20, 2010 at 02:05 PM

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