You sue the driver and owner of the car that hit you, if different people. You must file the small claims case before the second anniversary of the accident if you are including a bodily injury claim and before the third anniversary if you are only make a property damage claim. If you are making both claims, file them in one small claims case before the two year anniversary.
When you go to small claims, only you, the other driver, your body shop repairman and your treating doctors will be able to testify. Lawyers are not allowed and the other driver's insurance adjuster, unless she is a medical professional, witness to the accident, or the property repair estimator. If they try to testify ask the court to not allow it per Code of Civil Procedure 116.540. I have provided the link to this statute as well as a link to the Nolo Press Book, Everyone's Guide to Small Claims Court for you.
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You need to name the driver of the car and the registered owner (if it is a different person). You do not name the insurance company or the adjuster. There is a lot of good information about getting prepared to go to small claims court. For example, there is this link to the Los Angeles Superior Court website. http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/smallclaims/ui/. Good luck.
You must sue as defendants the driver & also the owner of the car that hit you. You need to make sure you have all your evidence to bring to the hearing. You should obtain a free consultation from a lawyer to make sure all your ducks are in a row. Call if you would like some help. Glenn 916/714-7672
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