Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz answers a viewer’s question, “I just got lawsuit papers served on me for causing a car accident just over 2 years ago. What am I supposed to do now?”
Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,
Today we are going to answer a question from Joe in New Castle County, Delaware. Joe wrote in and he says, “I just got lawsuit papers served on me for causing a car accident just over 2 years ago. What am I supposed to do now?” The answer, Joe, is it depends. It depends on whether you had insurance on the day of the accident or no insurance on the day of the accident.
If you had insurance, here is what you need to know:
- Your insurance company is responsible for settling the case that is brought by the injured motorist or defending the case that is brought by the injured motorist. Meaning that you paid your insurance company a premium, you paid them money and in return, they are supposed to either settle that case or litigate it for you. They are supposed to be paying for a defense attorney for you.
- All of the insurance companies that write insurance policies on automobiles in Delaware have defense attorneys that they use all the time in car accident personal injury cases. If you had insurance, what you need to do is call the insurance company you had on the day of the accident. Call them up and get their fax number. Find out who is the claim adjuster assigned to the case and fax the claims adjuster the lawsuit papers so that they can deal with it. They can then assign a defense attorney and that defense attorney can jump in and defend you.
If you did not have automobile insurance on the day of the accident, then you need to meet with an attorney:
- You can contact our office, there are plenty of attorneys throughout the state, throughout New Castle County, who could assist you with this matter. But what you need to do is, you need to get with an attorney and have an attorney of your own handle this matter. It may be that your attorney can get it quickly resolved if you had no insurance, or it may be that you need to hire a defense attorney on your own to defend against the case.
If you do not defend the case, what is going to happen is, that injured plaintiff and their attorney might take a judgement against you. Once they take a judgment against you, they can attach your wages, they can seize your household belongings and sell them in order to raise money to satisfy the judgment. You don’t want any of that to happen. So get with an attorney, either your insurance company will provide you with a free attorney, or if you did not have insurance on the day of the car accident, you are going to need to go hire an attorney on your own to defend the case.
If it is a Delaware accident, you are served with lawsuit papers in a Delaware Court and you are in New Castle County, Delaware, what you need to know is, you have a very short time frame. You have a 20-day window after the date you were served with lawsuit papers to notify the court that you are defending against the case. You have 20 days to file an answer to the complaint. That is what it is called. You receive lawsuit papers, if you look on it and says the complaint, you get to file an answer to the complaint or a motion to dismiss, but you only have 20 days to do it.
If you are watching this video and this has happened to you, what you need to do is act now, don’t put it off until tomorrow. If you procrastinate on this, bad things are going to happen. Hopefully, this video reaches you in a timely manner and hopefully, it helps you with the defense of your case. If you have questions for me that you would like answered in a video format please send me an email below.