If judgment for the prevailing party in an unlimited civil case could have been rendered in a limited civil case (because it did not exceed the $25,000 cut-off for limited civil case classification, CCP §§ 85(a), 86(a)), the right to costs is discretionary with the trial judge. The purpose is to encourage plaintiffs to bring small cases as limited civil cases and thereby conserve on both judicial resources and client finances. [CCP § 1033(a); Valentino v. Elliott Sav–On Gas, Inc. (1988) 201 CA3d 692, 701–702, 247 CR 483, 488–489; see Steele v. Jensen Instrument Co. (1997) 59 CA4th 326, 330–331, 69 CR2d 135, 137–138]. The statutory rules are more complex where plaintiff prevails in a limited civil case but recovers a judgment within the small claims court jurisdictional cut-off. It would be best to seek personal assistance from a lawyer in order to guide you in filing a small claim for your personal injury case.

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