Driver scratched my car door and left the scene...

by Maribel
(San Diego, California)

A driver hit my car with his side door and left a pretty big ding on the side of my car. I told him to stay so we could exchange information, but he wouldn't and just left. I got his license plate number, model and color of his car.

Can I take him to small claims court for the damage? What if he denies hitting my car with his? I did file a police report, but I have not picked it up yet as it's only been 3 days. What else can I do about this? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Driver scratched my car door and left the scene...":

Maribel (San Diego, California):

You definitely have a legal right to file a small claims lawsuit against the individual who dinged your car. Even though a police officer was not dispatched to the scene, having a copy of the police report you generated will be helpful evidence.

It's pretty simple. You were an innocent party to the accident. You had no fault and thereby can not be accused of contributory or comparative negligence. The other driver was clearly at fault, as evidenced by his inculpatory admissions.

Here's a link to the San Diego Small Claims Court website. There you should be able to find all the information you need to proceed with a small claims lawsuit against the driver.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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