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  1. #1
    dubbfoolio is offline Junior Member
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    Rear ended by drunk driver. Car totaled. Want to compile small claims case

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Arizona

    Hello, I was rear ended while waiting at an intersection 2/21/09 by a drunk driver without insurance. I'd like to file a small claims case to recuperate my deductible since I did not have uninsured collision coverage. I had uninsured bodily coverage, but did not file a claim with my insurance company; aside from some neck pain we feel fine fortunately. I will ask for the maximum amount that can be claimed which is $2500. My car was clearly totaled with a bent frame (see below) and it only had an original Kelly Blue Book value of $2640.

    I'm curious what evidence should be compiled to make the case as easy as possible.

    There were 3 witnesses not involved in the accident and I received their contact information. They made statements with the police.

    A police report was filed but I never received it and I don't know how to obtain it. Will it be mailed to me?

    I've taken several photos of the damage as seen below. Do I need to get a mechanics quote? My car is not street legal and it would be difficult to take it to a shop for a quote. Should I obtain a quote from my mechanic using photos? Do I need photos of the car from beforehand? The car also has a clean title I can bring.

    I don't want to invest myself to heavily in time or money in this case because the other driver didn't appear to have much money or assets. But I'd like to make things as difficult as possible for him to afford to drive again, and I'd like to have some of my losses recuperated if possible. Should I avoid selling or altering the car until the case is settled?

    Thanks for any advice you guys can provide, I really appreciate it.

    Rear end damage
    [url]http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/2913/imgp0058e.jpg[/url]
    Frame damage
    [url]http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/8561/imgp0061.jpg[/url]
    Last edited by dubbfoolio; 02-25-2009 at 01:04 PM.
  2. #2
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubbfoolio View Post
    I'm curious what evidence should be compiled to make the case as easy as possible.
    Of course, we cannot answer your question without reviewing ALL the facts. However, I can give you a GENERAL answer....
    Have a copy of your police report, pictures of your car and subpoena each and every witness that can help your case.
    Then show up on the date/time scheduled.
  3. #3
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Did you or did you not receive payment from your insurance company?
  4. #4
    dubbfoolio is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JETX View Post
    Of course, we cannot answer your question without reviewing ALL the facts. However, I can give you a GENERAL answer....
    Have a copy of your police report, pictures of your car and subpoena each and every witness that can help your case.
    Then show up on the date/time scheduled.
    I'd prefer not to subpoena witnesses because this case is probably not worth my own time, let alone the time of the kind strangers who stopped to see if we were okay. He was arrested for drunk driving. He had a stolen license plate, and no insurance. So there won't be much left of him after he pays the state. All the witnesses did make statements with the police however. Will that suffice?
  5. #5
    dubbfoolio is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    Did you or did you not receive payment from your insurance company?
    I did not, and will not receive payment from my insurance company. I had no collision coverage. We did not seek medical treatment.
  6. #6
    dubbfoolio is offline Junior Member
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    Can I take him to small claims court if he's in jail? how will he be served?
  7. #7
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Then why did you mention wanting to recover your DEDUCTIBLE?

    Police reports are not admissible in court, they are hearsay. However witnesses may not be necessary, your own testimony along with the location of your and his damages should suffice for small claims court. You will need a repair estimate to prove that your car is a total loss (it must obviously be more then the value of the car), and documentation of the value of the car.

    Do you have any reason to believe you will be able to collect a judgement from him though? Do you even know where to find him to serve him?
  8. #8
    dubbfoolio is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    Then why did you mention wanting to recover your DEDUCTIBLE?

    Police reports are not admissible in court, they are hearsay. However witnesses may not be necessary, your own testimony along with the location of your and his damages should suffice for small claims court. You will need a repair estimate to prove that your car is a total loss (it must obviously be more then the value of the car), and documentation of the value of the car.

    Do you have any reason to believe you will be able to collect a judgement from him though? Do you even know where to find him to serve him?
    Sorry I misused the word "deductible". I meant recover the cost of my vehicle. He's probably in jail, but I received an address from him. I have no idea how the judgment would be collected from him. It would have to be through the state, because he likely would not pay it voluntarily. If the state seizes any of his assets like his car for example or anything else he owns would it be possible for the settlement to be taken from that? Or by garnishing his wages assuming he's employed in the future?
  9. #9
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You will want to Google 'enforcing a judgement in Arizona' to find out what you might have to do to actually get any money from this loser. The state will NOT do it for you, this is a civil matter and you will have to find out what his assets are (if any) and where he works (if he works) and file the appropriate papers to seize property or garnish wages. Some states make it easier then others. Do your research and then decide if it will be worth it.
  10. #10
    dubbfoolio is offline Junior Member
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    thanks ecmst12. I've already learned a lot already by coming here. It appears that I can sell the judgement to a service that will only charge me if they manage to collect.

    [url=http://www.securefinancialsystems.com/faq-judgment-recovery.html]Arizona Judgment Recovery Lawsuit Collections Collection Agency[/url]

    It's probably relatively expensive but using a service like this is the only way I could probably ever collect the judgment from this person. It's also possible these services don't collect on small claims, so I'll give them a call and find out.
  11. #11
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubbfoolio View Post
    thanks ecmst12. I've already learned a lot already by coming here. It appears that I can sell the judgement to a service that will only charge me if they manage to collect.

    [url=http://www.securefinancialsystems.com/faq-judgment-recovery.html]Arizona Judgment Recovery Lawsuit Collections Collection Agency[/url]

    It's probably relatively expensive but using a service like this is the only way I could probably ever collect the judgment from this person. It's also possible these services don't collect on small claims, so I'll give them a call and find out.
    You'll only be able to do that if it looks like they will be able to collect. If he's in jail...good luck, you'll need it!
  12. #12
    dubbfoolio is offline Junior Member
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    yeah he's going to be in jail for at least a little while.
  13. #13
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Probably not as long as he deserves though.
  14. #14
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubbfoolio View Post
    thanks ecmst12. I've already learned a lot already by coming here. It appears that I can sell the judgement to a service that will only charge me if they manage to collect.
    And better yet... in YOUR state and already familiar with the processes:
    [url=http://www.enforcemyjudgment.com/buildindex.php?state=Arizona]Enforce My Judgment State Index[/url]
  15. #15
    dubbfoolio is offline Junior Member
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    Here's what John Osborn wrote back:

    I hope you are allright. I'm not an attorney and cannot render legal advice, but don't lock yourself into small claims court. Take it to Justice Court and get awarded your actual damages. Also, any uncollected judgment resulting from an accident in AZ will enable you to get the DDs license suspended.
    You have asked great questions.
    1) We accept judgments $1,500 or more.
    2) We review every judgment to determine the likelihood of recovery.
    3) If the drunk driver (DD) is:
    A) an illegal immigrant
    B) jobless
    C) homeless
    Your chance of recovery is severely diminished.
    During the criminal phase of the DDs trial, he will try everything to get out of doing a long prison sentence. You need to find out where the DD:
    A) works
    B) lives
    C) relatives live
    The reason you need to get ALL the damages actually incurred is mecause if you need help collecting our firm charges 50% of all collected fees. It's seems steep but it is a lot of work to go after these deadbeats.

    Please call me at (480) 821-1552 if you have any questions.

    John Osborn
    So rather or not this is worth pursuing probably depends on whether he works or not. I don't know how to find out his personal information without showing up at his address and asking questions. I'm not really interested in putting myself in that position. Since he has my address he could respond in kind and show up at my house. I'm not really interested in seeing this guy any more than I have to.

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