If I had an intersection accident with no witnesses, can I sue other party successfully in small claims court?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2011

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If I had an intersection accident with no witnesses, can I sue other party successfully in small claims court?

I was involved in an intersection accident; other driver struck my car. Rear passenger quarter-panel and bumper damaged. His vehicle had no damage. Estimated damage to my car is $1300. No injuries were reported. Police report filed both drivers claiming to have green light at time of accident. No witnesses were at the scene. I have liability insurance. Third party insurance denied my claim on the basis of different versions of how the accident occurred. If I take the other driver to small claims court what are my chances of winning? What is the likely outcome?

Asked on December 14, 2011 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to say what your chances of winning are--it  depends on both the exact circumstantial evidence (e.g. is there any clue, from the damage, as to how the accident occured) and also how reliable and believeable each person's testimony is. Note also that it is not "either-or" in most states; in most states, it is possible for both parties to be found to be at fault, in which case, the most likely outcome is that the plaintiff (one suing) will receive a portion of his/her requested damages or compensation (what the plaintiff will receive is reduced by the plaintiff's degree of fault).

Small claims suits are inexpensive to bring; with up to $1,300 at stake, it may be worth bringing the lawsuit (typical cost: $25 - $50 to file) and trying your luck.

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