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How do I get compensated for my mailbox that a drunk driver hit and destroyed?

Fresno, CA |

1 year ago an intoxicated woman hit my mailbox left the scene then crashed into a police vehicle. Forensics came and took photos of my completly destroyed mailbox. My homeowner's insurance said they couldn't cover it. I contacted her insurance and sent them a copy of the police report and we got a notice stating "there is no coverage for this loss". How do I get compensated for my expensive mailbox? If I sue her can I request she pay for all legal fees? Do I need an attorney? She shoudn't be able to get away with destroying someone else's property.

Attorney Answers 8

Posted

4 ways.

1. Get a copy of the police report and go after the guys insurance. No Insurance? Sue the guy
2. contact the DA's office and ask for victims' restitution for the damage the guy casued
3. Get your homeowners insurance to pay for it.
4. Sue the guy in small claims court

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3 comments

Richard Todd Rosenstein

Richard Todd Rosenstein

Posted

Agreed.

Julia E. Simmons

Julia E. Simmons

Posted

Sorry, I sped over this case. Homeowners and Private Car insurance is the best way. From there, I'd go to the DA's office. The Defendant is on probation still, you can still claim restitution for the damage she caused. The Def. will be ordered to pay you back. The last way is small claims but she'll likely ignore it..

John Joseph VanDervoort

John Joseph VanDervoort

Posted

good plan exactly in the order she gave it

Posted

Sue her in small claims court, the attorneys fees would be to much. And her insurance should cover it.

213-819-1171 Please only call me if your case is in California as I am only licensed here and laws of other states may vary. I approach trials and issues from a legal and common sense approach, This is how the majority of judges I have appeared before in 40 years also make decisions. I do not intend by my advice to enter an attorney client relationship and in most cases advise to obtain legal representation. Sometimes if you can not afford it a consultation or limited scope representation is available. As an experienced attorney I can tell you, judges can be impatient, hate emotional arguments and over exagerations or lies. A brief outline of the problems and desired solutions is always best and I often in limited scope representations advise clients on how to proceed at time of hearing or trial and my fees are considerably less when I do not appear in court as it takes much less of my time.

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3 comments

Richard Todd Rosenstein

Richard Todd Rosenstein

Posted

Agreed.

Robert Max Klein

Robert Max Klein

Posted

I also agreed.

Stephen Ross Cohen

Stephen Ross Cohen

Posted

Thanks for the vote of confidence Robert.

Posted

You can file a lawsuit against the driver and owner of the vehicle that caused the damages. You are not entitled to attorneys fees. If your damages are relatively small, you should consider filing a lawsuit in small claims court.

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Posted

As Ms. Simmons has explained, your options are pretty straightforward. Your best option at this point, given your homeowner's insurance will not cover it, is to sue her in small claims court. You may have a difficult time getting awarded attorney fees. Best of luck.

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1 comment

Julia E. Simmons

Julia E. Simmons

Posted

I actually think the best way is via the DA's office. If the person was arrested for a DUI, she likely was convicted and ordered on probation. Part of her terms is to pay any restitution for damages. In CA, probation is typically 3 years or more, thereby there's still time to go to the DA's office and turn in her damages. The DA will then fight for her reimbursement in court and the Defendant will be ordered to pay for the damages as part of her plea.

Posted

It sounds like you did the right things by submitting it to insurance first. I would contact the district attorney's victim/witness office and see if they can get restitution for damages for you. If not, I would go ahead and sue in small claims at this point. You don't get to have a lawyer with you at small claims, but it appears from the facts you have submitted that liability is cut and dry. Good luck.

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Posted

Small claims court is typically the best bet.

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Posted

Her insurance carrier likely denied coverage either because she failed to pay her premium, she was an excluded driver under the policy, or else she was convicted of DUI and the policy precludes payment for damage caused in the commission of a crime.

If the criminal case against the woman is still ongoing, you should submit the bill for repairs and photographs of damage to the DA and ask for restitution. However, keep in mind that if the woman isn't employed and has no money to pay....there's not much that you can do.

You can also file suit directly against the woman in small claims court. The cost to file is minimal and no attorneys are allowed. So just like on "Judge Judy" you would present your case and evidence and the woman would have to appear to try to defend herself. Of course, after you obtain an judgment against her.....it's still a matter of trying to collect. If she doesn't own property and/or doesn't have a job to make payments to you, you could have difficulty forcing her to pay the judgment.

***This response is provided solely for general information purposes and is not intended as legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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Posted

Sue or ask the district atty/probation dept to get a restitution order. That shouldn't cost you any money, and if it is obtained, it is a judgment that can be enforced just like a small claims court judgment.

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