Sheriff won't help after my truck was damaged and the driver left the scene?
(New Orleans, LA)
I was parked in a lot yesterday and returned to find my truck had been damaged. I found a note from a witness that described a man in a gray truck, with the license plate number, who had pinched a cart with the front of his truck into the front of my truck as he was backing out.
I took the note and my truck to the Sheriff that was in the lot for security. The Sheriff said he can't help and will not write a report since it was on private property. He would not even run the plates and tell the person he needs to contact me in order to pay for my damages. Where do I go from here? Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Sheriff won't help after my truck was damaged and the driver left the scene?":
Jeremiah, (New Orleans, LA):
Fortunately, a Good Samaritan was kind enough to leave the negligent driver’s information on your truck. Contact the driver. To do so, contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles and explain why you need the name and contact information of the owner of the vehicle which damaged your car.
With that information in hand, contact the driver and demand he or she pay you for the costs of repairs to your truck. If the driver refuses, then you have the right to sue him/her.
Depending upon the amount of money it will take to repair your truck, you can sue him in small claims court for up to $3,000.00. That is the maximum jurisdictional amount for small claims courts in the State of Louisiana.
If you file a claim in small claims court and the costs of repairs to your car are less than $3,000.00, you can also ask for compensation for your emotional distress. That amount can be in addition to the costs of repair to your truck and up to the three thousand dollar limit. There's no guarantee you'll get it though.
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,
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