What can I do if an enraged driver threw an object at my car while we were on the highway leaving a small dent and noticeable scratches?

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What can I do if an enraged driver threw an object at my car while we were on the highway leaving a small dent and noticeable scratches?

I have only his license plate number. What steps should I take to have him pay for the damage?

Asked on February 4, 2015 under Accident Law, Tennessee

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Contact the police with the license plate information.  The police will be able to obtain the name of the registered owner of the vehicle and his insurance information.

The criminal case pursued by the police is separate from your civil case (lawsuit).

Prior to filing a lawsuit, file a claim with the registered owner's insurance company.  The insurance company might deny liability because this was an intentional act (throwing the object at your car causing damage to your car).

If the registered owner does not have insurance and you have uninsured motorist coverage, file an uninsured motorist claim through your auto insurance company.  Again, you might have the problem of your insurance carrier denying liability since the incident was an intentional act.

If that happens, file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court for trespass to chattel.  Trespass to chattel is the intentional damaging of your personal property.  Your damages (the amount of monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your car.  Your damages should also include court costs, which are the court filing fee and process server fee.

If the driver, who threw the object, is someone other than the registered owner, name both the registered owner and the driver as defendants in your lawsuit.  The police investigation should reveal whether the driver is someone other than the registered owner.


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