What will happen If I’m being sued a year after a car accident and I can’t afford to pay?

I had a car accident a year ago; it was my fault and now I’m being sued. I don’t have a job. My daughter sends me money when she is able to. My husband is in construction and works maybe 1 day a week; my kids are on medicaid. I can’t afford to fight this from any angle, what can I do? I don’t want to go to jail.

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Accident Law, Texas


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The lawsuit is a civil case; not a criminal case.  You won't go to jail.

If you had auto insurance, your insurance company will provide you with an attorney at no cost to you.  The insurance company will handle the lawsuit for you.  If you had insurance and have now been served with the summons and complaint (complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons), forward those documents to your insurance company.

If you did not have auto insurance and have been served with the summons and complaint, if you don't file an answer to the complaint with the court by the deadline in the summons, you will lose by default.  If that happens you will need to file a motion to set aside the default.  If the court grants your motion, the case will be back on track and litigation will continue.

If you did not have auto insurance, you might want to contact Legal Aid.  I don't know if Legal Aid would handle this type of case.

If a judgment is entered against you with the court, you and your husband might want to consider filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  It would be premature to file bankruptcy prior to a judgment being entered against you because you would not know the amount of the judgment. 


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