What can we do if a driver demolished our neighborhood mailbox and refuses to pay?

The owner of the vehicle information was attained, however the insurance information given was false. The address could not be confirmed and was not taken at the time of the accident. The driver has been called about once every month for the last year in order to have them pay for the bill to replace our mailbox. Upon the last conversation today, they finally flat out refused to pay and or communicate anymore. I now have to take them to small claims court for the replacement of the mailbox which they destroyed. Since they are now completely unwilling to settle this matter in any way shape or form in a civilized manner, can the costs of a summons server and costs to find said individual be added to the cost of the suit as they are part of trying to get them to court? Can I add my time costs to the bill as well? I have taken several hours of time out of my professional schedule to try and settle this matter before going to court. I personally make about $75 per hour and had to give up many hours of trying to resolve this matter with these individuals still with no actual results. I am the president of an HOA and am also a professional appraiser.

Asked on May 9, 2017 under Accident Law, Washington

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can only collect for the cost to repair/replace the mailbox (and you must provide proof)and any court filing fees. Unfortunately, you cannot recover compensation relating to the time you spent on this matter, including any wages lost. Nor can you collect any incidental expenses such as mailing costs, photocopying, etc.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you cannot recover or collect for the time you have spent on this matter; you also cannot recover the cost to serve the papers, or any photocopying, postage, Fed Ex, etc. costs. All you can recover, besides the cost to replace the mailbox, is the actual court filing fee.


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