I know this isn't the best place to ask this, but I'm hoping someone on here has some good advice or has gone through a similar situation. Basically I'm curious to know with my witnesses and what not, if I have a good chance in small claims court to win. I'll try to shorten it up as best as possible and answer more questions as we go.
On May 18th, my roommate saw one kid making an obvious throwing motion towards the other kids positioned in front of my car while checking the mail. Shortly after he heard a loud noise which than the kids quickly scattered across the road back to their house. At the same time I was putting my shoes on inside my house and I heard "Oh shit!" from the kids I previously saw by my driveway. Normally I wouldn't think twice of it, but the kids have hit my car with footballs numerous times only a few weeks prior.
Shortly after I walk outside my roommate pulls into the driveway and says you better check over your car, they may have damaged it. Since I backed my car into the driveway I checked my hood first, and lone and behold there is a nice dent on the hood of my car.
We immediately went across the street to question the kids. One of the friends of the kid who lives there opened the door first denying anything happened. Once my roommate told his half of the story saying he saw one of them throw an object he quickly changed his story to, "something may have been thrown" than "yeah, someone threw something near your car." A couple minutes pass and a child came upstairs and says, "No one here threw a rock." At that point no one had made mention of a rock or anything. So we walked over to my driveway and found a rock that came from near their house positioned exactly where it would have "bounced" off.
Eventually after talking to the kids some more the younger of the group said he would go get his mother who was a couple blocks away. During that time one of the kids bikes over and confesses his friend had indeed hit my car with a rock. Five minutes pass by and the mother shows up. I explained the situation to her also adding the fact her son's friend already ratted her kid out. She than went on to say his little brother already did the same.
To shorten it up a bit- Her goal was to get another parent involved so she didn't have to pay the full damage (just under $500). Of course the other guy is white trash and thinks his friend can use touch up paint. She even realized that doesn't make sense so she agreed to pay the full amount. They wanted me to bring it to a body shop (Ken's Body Shop) that I can't find any records about. He also isn't even sure of the name anymore. So of course I didn't go that route.
To yesterday; I approached her with a letter that was written out saying she would pay the full amount (which she agreed too) otherwise I would bring her to small claims. She refused to sign the letter saying she would only pay half and that her kid wasn't at fault (even though the witnesses all said it was him). During our conversation I set my phone up to record everything in case she would incriminate herself. Couple things we heard: Me - "You agreed to pay the full amount." Her - "Mm hmm." Her - "The kids were throwing rocks and did hit the car."
Few things I know:
Everyone pointed fingers at her son, and only her son in the beginning (I have witnesses who saw/heard it)
They were on her/my property
She agreed to pay the full amount at one point.
After the incident I had her right down her information.
If I recorded her without her knowledge is that illegal? Can it even be used in court?
Do I have a strong case?
Is there anything else I should do?
I'll probably add more to this down the road. Hopefully it makes sense