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Who to sue in small claims court in CA, driver, owner of car/insurance policy or both?

San Jose, CA |

I was rear ended on a parking area with est. damage of ~$1k. The driver seemed to be the son of the vehicle owner(who is not in the scene at that moment). We exchanged insurance info but when I tried to claim to his insurance(I only have liability coverage),the other party denied making physical contact to my vehicle and thus his insurance denied my prop damage claim.
Now I plan to take this to small claims court. Should I sue the driver of the vehicle, owner/insured person(even if he is not in the scene) or both? Also, should I include the store owner of the parking area in my lawsuit as well since I got the damage around their premises? Besides, the store seem not want to provide me a video footage on the incident.

Please advise CA atty!

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

The driver for sure. If the owner gave permission to son to drive, he is liable for up to 15k for injury and 5k for property damage. The owner of the parking lot, which may not be the store, could be laible if it was responsible for the crash somehow. Was there something about the design or condition of the pkg lot that caused or contributed to the crash? If not, then I wouldnt sue them. You can ask the court clerk if there is a way to subpena the stores video footage. There are sometimes small claims advisors available to help with procedural questions. One problem you may have is that the video may require specail equipment to run, and the court may not have it. You also dont know do you, if the video shows the accident or not? Was it daytime?

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Posted

I'd recommend NOT taking this to small claims court. Oddly small claims is really stacked against plaintiffs. Consult with a personal injury attorney in your area to handle this claim. To answer your question, you should sue the driver, and the owner and anyone else who might be closely related to being responsible for the incident.
Best of luck.

I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Answers posted to Avvo are for general information only. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. Every case depends is fact dependent, and responses are limited to and is based on the information you posted. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.

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Posted

Without any personal injury component file it in small claims court. Do as attorney Kopelson says. Best of luck.

This answer is provided by Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., El Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. El Abogado de Accidentes de Autos provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. El abogado de Accidentes de Autos y Lesiones Personales is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos y Lesiones Personales de Acidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, y Abogado de Acidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, y California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.

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Posted

For the most part, thousand dollar valued matters which do not involve any physical/bodily injury are appropriate for small claims court. With any case, whether small claims or big claims (or Superior court as lawyers may call it), suing all the proper defendants is always a question that is answered based on theories of liability. A driver is responsible for his/her own negligent actions. A vehicle's owner may or may not be responsible for an accident involving his or her vehicle. The owner of the premises where a motor vehicle accident occurred may, though less often, be responsible too. The facts of a particular case along with strategy about how many defendants one wants to attack at once (will they band together to provide a common defense or will they finger point at each other?) will determine the course of action.

-Paul

Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
Corona, CA 92879
(951)520-9684
www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com

"When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."

* This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.

Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206... Corona, CA 92879... (951)520-9684... www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com... "When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW." ... * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy... ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.

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Posted

Best bet is to get a local insurance lawyer in your state to review.

Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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Posted

How old is the driver?

The owner of the car and the driver.

Goodluck!

*Disclaimer: This response does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and I. I am not your lawyer and I am not representing you in the underlying issue stated in your question. The response I have offered is not intended to be relied upon, you should seek out an attorney to assist in this matter. You may contact me directly at (415) 362-6765 ext.120; website: www.wc-advocateforjustice.com. (Attorney for Law Offices of William E. Weiss)

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