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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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Customer Question

We lost a small claims case this morning because we did not bring an expert witness to testify to the value of the vehicle we lost. The Defendant admitted liability and we brought photos, a written estimate and a Kelly Blue Book statement of value but the judge said that was not enough and found for the Defendant. Can you ask for a rehearing and bring a mechanic at that point? Does the mechanic have to be one that inspected the vehicle or can it be someone who inspected photos of the vehicle?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Hello and Welcome to JustAnswer, My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with Excellent Service,

 

I am sorry to hear you lost the case because you really should have won, even without bringing in an expert testify as to the value of your vehicle because the "Kelly Blue Book" is like the "Bible" of vehicle values,

 

Q. In which State did this take place ?

Thank you and I look forward to your reply,

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


This was in Florida.
We also thought we should win this case, as the Defendant admitted liability. His only issue was that he disagreed with the amount we were claiming the van was worth.
KBB valued the van at $6663 and we were suing for the max. amount of $5000.

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Hi, Lucy, Thank you for your additional information,

 

 

You can do two things; You can file a "Motion for a New Trial" in Small Claims within 10 days of the Judge's decision in Small Claims Court, and you can file an Appeal with the Circuit Court. If the Judge in Small Claims Court could not understand why you should have won in the first instance, it might be a waste of time and money to file a "Motion for a New Trial" because the Judge would probably decide the case the same way. Litigants usually do not bring experts into Small Claims Court and in your situation, with the defendant even admitting liability, all the Judge had to do was to look in "Kelly's Blue Book" to get the value of the vehicle and award you Judgment. The decision is up to you,

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate my service to you as "Excellent Service",

 

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback are greatly appreciated,

 

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you,



ANDREA

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can I file a Motion for a New Trial and then bring an expert witness? Or is it too late to try and bring an expert in?

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Hi, Lucy, Yes, you can file a Motion for a New Trial with the Small Claims Court if it has not been more than 10 days since the decision was entered. If the Judge grants your Motion for a New Trial,, you can bring in an expert to testify as to the value of the vehicle, but you have to give the Judge a good reason in your Motion why the Judge should grant your Motion. The reason must be more than just that you want to bring an expert in to testify because the Judge can say that if the expert was available to you at the time of the first trial and you just did not bring him in, he may not grant your Motion for a New Trial. The Judge may stand on the legal principle that if the evidence (here, the expert) was available to you at the time of the first trial, it was your choice not to bring him in. So, you will have to find some evidence that was not available to you at the time of the first trial and your Motion for a New Trial is based on "After-acquired" Evidence.

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate my service to you as "Excellent Service",

 

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback are greatly appreciated,

 

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you,



ANDREA

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I understand, thank you.

Is an expert witness actually REQUIRED to appear in Small Claims court? I would think that the photographs, KBB value plus the written estimate should have been enough to prove the value of our vehicle.

We feel that the judge sided against us because we actually did not have insurance on the vehicle at the time of the accident. She spent a great deal of time telling us that it was not a determining factor for her judgement but lecturing us of the importance of having insurance. She made a point to tell us that this was an expensive lesson that we should now learn.

Besides an expert witness, what else could we have presented to prove the vehicle's value?

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Hi, Lucy, If the Judge lectured you about insurance, then you can bet that is the reason she entered judgment against you. You presented everything there is to present, except for the expert. I do not believe that there was, or is anything else available you could present,

 

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate my service to you as "Excellent Service",

 

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback are greatly appreciated,

 

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you,



ANDREA