A lot to respond to here. None of this should be taken as legal guidance or advice.
Regarding removing the case to regular civil court, this is perfectly acceptable under the court rules. It is allowed based on a concept called intervention. In this case, it allows a party that may have an interest in the outcome of the case to intervene. In this case, if the van owner is found liable, the insurance company may be liable for paying the damages. Filing an opposition brief would be fruitless because the court rules allow the removal. Therefore, they are allowed to intervene and change the venue to where the insurance company can represent the defendants.
They have filed a motion to dismiss, to which, I have filed an opposition brief. The judge will decide whether or not to dismiss the case on December 23rd.
Regarding the cost of damage, damages amounted to about $1000. I have already had it fixed. The clip itself wasn't damaged, but the clip/fastener mechanism had enough force exerted on it to rip the plastic lower fascia from the upper bumper requiring both parts to be replaced and painted.
The owners of the car themselves are not disabled. I'm not going to go into how I know that. Having the insurance company involved may actually be a blessing because they have the money to pay out if I am successful. I doubt this will go to trial, but if it did, it would be a bench trial without a jury where disabled status would doubtfully sway the judge.
I have attempted to discuss settlement but the insurance attorney appears to want to attempt to dismiss the case first--which is normal. Hiring an attorney would be silly as it would consume more than the case is worth. I have studied up on procedure and evidence rules and am not concerned. The facts in the case aren't exactly in contention--the interpretation of the law is.
At the very least, though I believe I am in the right and that they are liable, if nothing more, this will be an educational experience for me.
Any other questions or comments I will be happy to address