car accident, no insurance who can defend me?

I got in a car accident on April 2017, I provided my license, my insurance and the police even came and didn’t give a police report. I thought everything was good, until I found out that I was never put on my step dad car insurance policy. Now I got a letter from the lawyers office from the other party. I’ve been looking for a defense attorney but haven’t had any luck. I am a single mom, I got kicked out due to the accident and I don’t have my car anymore. I lost my job, so I am worried about the costs.

Asked on July 6, 2017 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Attorneys understandably only work for pay, so if you can't afford to hire one, you're not going to have representation (there are a few options you can try--see below--but don't count on them, since everyone wants free representation; the need is much greater than the availability of charitable legal work). You are legally allowed to defend yourself, which is called being "pro se"--this is not recommended, of course, but if worst comes to worst, you can be your own attorney,
Try contacting Legal Services in your state: they provide free legal help in some cases. Call you state bar association and see if they can make a referral to an attorney who will take it "pro bono" or for free--some lawyers volunteer their time to help people who can't afford lawyers. Call local law schools--some have clinics where law students provide legal assistance under the guidance of their professors. You may get lucky and get free legal assistance, but again, you can't count on it--though it is worth trying.
Also, how much are they suing you for? If it's not too much, you can see if they will be willing to let you have a payment plan and pay the amount over a year or two or three, in regular installments. It is voluntary on their part, so you can't make them do this, but they often will, since getting a voluntary payment agreement with you will save them the cost of a lawsuit.


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