What to do if someone hit my car but now denies it?

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What to do if someone hit my car but now denies it?

A guy hit my car; his tire hit my door; no damage to his pick-up. His insurance company told me that since they couldn’t find damage on his vehicle and he denied that it ever happened, they believe him. Even though I have all his personal information, insurance policy number, etc. and photos that show the center of wheels on this model pick-up lines up with the damage on my door. I don’t have uninsured coverage on this car. Do I sue the individual or the insurance company in small claims?

Asked on December 8, 2010 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You don't sue the insurer--you sue the driver. The driver is the responsible (if he was at fault) party; the insurer merely has an obligation to pay for  his defense (i.e. his lawyer) and, if he is found liable, to pay the damages, up to the policy limits. But since it's the driver, not the insurer, who allegedly did something wrong and caused you damages, it's the driver you sue (and, of course, you could sue even if he had no insurance--that might just make it more difficult to collect if there was no ready source of payment). And you could bring a case like this in small claims court, which is the best venue--the cost of a laywer and the associated fees/costs of municipal or district, etc. court would probably exceed your recovery.


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