Small claims court question

A friend of mine witnessed an SUV attempting to park that in the process knocked over a motorcycle. He jotted down the license plate number of the car and left a note on the motorcycle. Several other witnesses lifted the motorcycle back up and phoned the police to make statements. Just before leaving the scene, my friend saw the motorcycle owner and told him what happened and gave him his phone number (all the other witnesses were gone at this point).

Now the motorcyle owner is taking the SUV driver to small claims court (the driver claims he was not in the area on that day) and the motorcycle driver has asked my friend to testify. He wants to do the right thing, but he wants to know if he is putting himself at any risk in testifying for this guy?

Thanks for any help or experience you can provide. :slight_smile:

Hm, the SUV driver is obviously a wanker, since he isn’t owning up to something people caught him doing, so it might be a problem if the SUV driver follows your friend home, or something extreme like that. Barring that, I don’t see why your friend would need to be made known to the SUV driver. His name would go into court records, I assume, but I can’t see the court releasing any info to the SUV driver for obvious retaliation reasons.

On the plus side, it will be a great deposit in the karma bank to go and help someone triumph over the forces of selfishness and thoughtlessness.

What do you mean, risk? I don’t see how. It’s no different from testifying in a court case where he’s been subpoenad. Unless the SUV driver is part of the mob and will hunt him down and kill him, (highly doubtful) your friend can testify with a clear mind.

He meant something along the lines of liability or being open to a counter-suit of some kind. He didn’t think so, but is admittedly not very familiar with all the legal possibilities (and I’m certainly no help either, other than posting here).

Dude, you (or your friend) can be sued for anything, by anybody, at anytime. The real question is, will you win? So tell your buddy to quit worrying about it.

That said, unless your friend starts making stuff up out of whole cloth, he’s got nothing to worry about. Tell him he has more to worry about in the conscience department if he doesn’t testify.


In some jurisdictions (at the very least, MINE), small claims courts have subpoena power. If a person gets a subpoena, they generally HAVE to testify (unless they can somehow quash the subpoena, which is difficult…)

There really isn’t a lot of choice in the matter.

Doesn’t the plaintiff and witnesses have to prove that the owner was actually driving the SUV at the time? Or is it just assumed that the owner has to live up to the damages regardless of who was driving the vehicle at the time?