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Can I take this car owner to small claims court?

Oshkosh, WI |

I was in a car accident and my vehicle is totaled. I wasn't at fault, the other driver ran a red light and there are several witnesses that attested to that on the police report. The driver doesn't own the car and doesn't have insurance. I only have liability on my car, so my insurance co. won't cover the damage. The driver is unemployed, on social security, and has multiple small claims cases open against him. I was wondering if I can take the owner of the car to small claims court for the damages. He claims to not have insurance either, but he is evading my insurance company and not being cooperative. I have called a local lawyer and it didn't seem like they wanted to get involved because the injuries weren't to severe. Any thoughts?

The owner of the car, who is not the driver, said he just got the car. My insurance company said it is a rent to own vehicle. The owner of the car told the police he didn't have insurance, but he will not respond to my insurance company. The owner of the car may have a job, I am not sure because he has avoided us. Would it be worth it to take him to small claims?

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Attorney answers 6


Yes but a judgement isn't worth anything if you can't collect it.

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Talk to more personal injury attorneys. While this man may have nothing today, tomorrow he could win the lottery, inherit money or a number of other things that could help pay for a judgment.


I agree with my colleagues -- a judgment proof defendant is no good.

Good luck.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


Talk to an attorney in Oshkosh to determine the best approach. The problem is going to be collecting any judgment.


A currently uncollectable judgment is better than no judgment.

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You can, but it may be throwing good money after bad. In addition to continuing to call personal injury lawyers, you can also look into the status of and/or the possibility of initiating safety responsibility proceedings if your insurance company hasn't already done so.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for the fact that you don't have a car. That is unfortunately the risk you take when you choose to run without full coverage. Good luck.

This answer is provided for general information only. No legal advice can be given without a consult as to the specifics of the case.

Michael C. Witt

Michael C. Witt


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