If I was sued due to an auto accident but was late for court and they ruled against me, do I have any options?

Asked on October 19, 2014 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can make a motion (basically, an application to the court) to set aside the default (the losing because you were not there on time) and reschedule a new trial date. It is not a given or automatic that you will succeed; in order to have a chance, you need to show both that you had a good excuse (e.g. a medical emergency; some major unexpected travel or traffic problem which was beyond your control) for being late and also that you have a "meritorious defense," or some realistic possible defense to being found liable (since if you don't have a defense, there's no point in setting aside the default). You should retain an attorney to help you, unless you are being sued for so little that the cost of an attorney would outweigh what you would have to pay due to losing the case.

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