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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 129496
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years of law and traffic law
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From gh Ridge Mo, an auto accident that happen in Fenton MO

Customer Question

Jackson from High Ridge Mo , an auto accident that happen in Fenton MO ,which is St Louis County.Back in April of 2015 an out of state driver from West Virginia pulled out from a street that had a stop sign that stated crossing traffic dose not stop and she pulled out and ran into my front driver side fender pushing the fender back into my driver door.I have just liability on my 2006 Dodge mini van so my insurance so my insurance won't do anything to represent me.The out of state drive (West Virginia ) told the on site police officer she pulled out from the stop sign and collided with me that's in the police report and officer will testify to her statement. The lady has since the accident told her insurance (Nation Wide)that she never spoke to the officer stating fault and says she doesn't claim fault. SO nation Wide is refusing to pay off. my question is even though this lady is out of state can I file a small claims law suit on her for the $1800.dollars in damages in St LOUIS COUNTY small claims court and will she have to appear to answer the complaint.?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: The Nation Wide insurance agent stated they will not honor my damage claim as long as their client refuses liability even though I have a police report stating she is at fault ,you can see by the accident site she'd have to be at fault ,even though the officer will testify that she stated she pulled out from a stop sign that states crossing traffic does not stop,even though all the damage done to my driver front fender shows she drove her vehicle a white 2010 Dodge mini van into my vehicle.they said unless she changes her statement of liability I'd have to have a witness that saw the accident and would stated their client was at fault.
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Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You cannot file in small claims court in MO because the small claims court has limited jurisdiction and does not have long arm jurisdiction. Your choice is to file in the regular civil court under their long arm jurisdiction and try to get her served in WV. However, if you want to keep it in small claims, you would have to sue in small claims where she resides for the small claims court to have personal jurisdiction over her. The regular civil court has long arm jurisdiction because the accident happened in MO and her insurer can and generally will represent her in a suit in MO, but not in small claims because they have no personal jurisdiction and you have to sue her not her insurer as MO does not have direct action laws to let you sue just her insurer.