Car/Construction Barrel Physics

While driving to work one morning, rounding a bend in I-95, I encountered a construction barrel just about in the middle of my lane. To make a long story short, I couldn’t get out of the way in time, and I hit it on my left side. It took off my mirror, which in turn struck and broke my driver-side window. It also left scratches along the side panel and, most noticeably, a fairly large dent, about the size of my index finger, just underneath where the bottom of the window used to be. (I assume this dent was made by the side mirror somehow after it came off.)

So I filed a claim with the construction company to recover my deductible. I know, I shouldn’t have expected to get anything, but their response seemed fishy. They said that the plastic construction barrel couldn’t have caused the damage I encountered. I find that hard to accept–mostly because it contradicts what I experienced and saw–but I’d like to be able to present some numbers to show them that they’re wrong.

Can anyone help? I was an English major. The construction barrel was one of those standard, orange kind, weighted at the bottom. I couldn’t pull over and recover it because there wasn’t a shoulder, but they assured me that’s all they had out there. I’d estimate that I was travelling at about 50 m.p.h. at the time of impact. Looking at the scratches, I’d say it struck just ahead of the side mirror.

I’m willing to accept that I’m somehow mistaken and it wasn’t actually a barrel, but at the same time, I’m really not. Has anyone had damage done to their car by a barrel like this? Does there exist some kind mathlete that could work anything up to demonstrate anything hitting anything at 50 m.p.h. is likely to do some serious damage?

Thanks in advance.