Can I get rid of the car that I am filing a civil claim for?

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Can I get rid of the car that I am filing a civil claim for?

I was rear-ended by someone who didn’t have insurance. Now I need some way to hold that person accountable for the damage he did to my car. Since it was totaled, I had to get a different car. I have nowhere to put my old car and am wondering if I can get rid of it and use the pictures and the estimate from the body shop to take the at-fault driver to court to get money for my car even though I don’t have the car in my possession anymore.

Asked on July 9, 2019 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If you're filing in small claims court, you can safely do this, since there is no "discovery," or ability to get information, documentation, and evidence, from the other side in small claims. But if filing a case for more than the small claims limit so you can't go to small claims court, you'll have to hold onto the car, because the other side could demand to examine or have an insurance adjuster or mechanic, etc. examine the car to evaluate the damage, and if you dispose of the car so they can't do that, you'll have engaged in "spoilation of evidence" (destroying evidence) which can harm or even cost you your case.


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