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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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Iberia airline have lost my luggage during a flight Madrid

Customer Question

Hello, Iberia airline have lost my luggage during a flight Madrid Spain to Miami Usa. Its been more than 21 days. They offered me a compensation of 1500$. I did not took it. My luggage was worth about 14000$ (of clothes and other items. I have all the receipts). I want to take them to court but this amount doesn't fall under small claims of up to 5000$. I can't afford a lawyer to file with me for this claim (I want to file for claims up to 15000$). Is there a way I could do this myself and represent myself? If yes what should I do? I already went to Miami Beach district court and they told me to come back with some documents and to file myself (they also told me that its best if I have a lawyer doing it for me). I do not want to let Iberia airline get away with this. It is way too easy!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Im also an international dj and this incident affected my work. The clothes for my shows and my sound card were in that bag. Iberia just doesn't care at all.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn about this situation.

It is possible to represent yourself in a civil suit for $15,000.00. However, it is a little more complicated than simply filing some forms (and expect the airline to vigorously defend the action - I would recommend carefully reading your ticket agreement and see if there is any cap on damages placed in there, a lot of airlines and other travel companies do place limits on how much they are liable for in these contracts!).

Here is a general overview of civil litigation in Florida (from the FL Bar Association): https://www.floridabar.org/DIVCOM/PI/RHandbook01.nsf/1119bd38ae090a748525676f0053b606/966753dab01ea462852569cb004ca402!OpenDocument

To start, the first documents you need are a civil complaint and a summons.

The Complaint is the first document you file (in your case you would be filing a complaint for "breach of contract" and "negligence"). You can find examples in your local law library (along with a lot of helpful information and resources for how to prosecute your claim and the steps for civil litigation).

The other document, the Summons, is issued by the court when you file your complaint (bring extra copies with you). It tells the defendant that the action has been filed, where the court is located, and what the first hearing date is.

Take the two documents (the summons and complaint) to a civil process server (you can contact your local bar association for referrals) and the process server will "serve" the airline with these documents, then give you a "proof of service" to file with the court, and your lawsuit will be initiated.

Short of filing a lawsuit, you can try to mediate the dispute with them - contact your local bar association and request referrals to mediators, a third party neutral can often help you reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Use the bar association's referrals to contact a mediator or two, the mediator will then contact the other party to set up a mediation session, and you can go from there - hopefully resulting in a formal or written settlement agreement, and save yourself the time and expense of litigation.

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