Does a little property damage make a personal injury case? How? 16 Answers as of May 29, 2015

My no longer friend and I got into a huge fight a while ago, and I got pretty angry and knocked his computer over. Now he is suing me in small claims court. I know he is just trying to win. Can he do this? Should I get a lawyer for small claims court?

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Gregory M Janks, PC
Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
If you damaged someone else's property, they can make a claim against you. Unless you have a defense to your actions, they will likely win the case. You typically can not have an attorney in Small Claims Court but you would have to read your Local Court Rules on that point.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/29/2015
Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
Just trying to win what? You should get an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 5/28/2015
Law Offices of Robert Burns
Law Offices of Robert Burns | Robert Burns
That's a property loss. Any personal injury was in the fight or the distress caused by the collateral cause of the property loss.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/28/2015
Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
Many lawyers are reluctant to go into small claims court, because their fees often outweigh any benefit the lawyer can bring. If you got into a fight with this person and broke his computer, you are likely to be found negligent. Wisconsin, like half the states, is a 'comparative negligence' state. Meaning that you get to tell your story about why the damage was more his fault than yours. The court then assigns a percentage of the total negligence to each of you. The details get a bit more complicated from there on. You don' absolutely need a lawyer, but if you can find a decent one at a reasonable cost, it seems like a good idea to have one. Good Luck.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 5/28/2015
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
Lawyers are not permitted in small claims court. You knocked the computer over, slam dunk win for the other guy. Get ready to write a check for the damage done.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/28/2015
    End, Hierseman & Crain, LLC | J. Michael End
    Why shouldn't he sue you? You damaged his computer. I don't know what a lawyer will be able to do for you. You caused the damage, so you will have to pay for it.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 5/28/2015
    Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
    Lawyers are not allowed in small claims. Only the parties are allowed to participate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/28/2015
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    It does not appear that a personal injury case is being brought. This is a claim for property damage. If you damaged or destroyed his computer improperly he has a right to go to court to make it clean to have compensation. it is up to you if you want a lawyer but small claims court can usually be defended without one. The cost of the lawyer may exceed the computer cost.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/28/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    No lawyers in small claims, and if you knocked over his computer and broke it, that would generally be you liability. Who else should have to pay?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    No lawyers allowed in S.C. Court. Show up and tell the judge your story.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Of course he's just trying to win, that's why he filed a court action. He's trying to win the cost of fixing his computer, which he is entitled to. Now, think about the phrase "personal injury case". That means a case in which someone is personally injured, as distinguished from a property damage case, which is a case in which property is damaged. You damaged his property, you did not injure him. Rather than paying a lawyer, pay your ex-friend for your damage to his property.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Yes, he can sue you. Whether you get a lawyer is up to you and should probably be an economic decision. From what you have described he has no personal injury case for property damage only; he would have had to have been injured. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
    Personal injury it for liability injuring a person. Property damage is damage and liability for damaging someone property. If you intentionally damaged someone property you are responsible for its replacement. I don't see a personal injury case with the facts you have stated so far. Yes, you can represent yourself if you want too.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You cant have a lawyer in small claims court. If you damaged his computer, he is entitled to sue you for damages you caused.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    Geneva Yourse | Geneva Yourse
    If you broke it, you bought it. Yes, it does make a small claims court case. Just settle and pay it.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    An adult is responsible for their actions, even when they lose their temper and have a tantrum and break stuff. Especially when they break stuff. You are responsible for the reasonable expenses involved in repairing/replacing the broken computer. My opinion is that you act like a grown up, and accept the responsibility. Just pay for the damage.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2015
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