What are my rights as an uninsured motorist?

I recently hit a parked car and caused damage to the front bumper of another vehicle. Information was exchanged. There was no one in the vehicle at the time of impact. I was in the process that day to obtaining car insurance, that was my next stop.

Asked on November 1, 2011 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since you were at fault in the accident, you are liable for the damage to those two vehicles.  Since you did not have auto insurance at the time of the accident, you will probably be sued by the owners of those two vehicles.  From your description, the damage to the vehicles appears to be minor, and therefore a potential lawsuit filed against you will probably be a Small Claims Court case.  Until you are served with a summons and complaint (the complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons), you don't need to do anything.  When you are served by a process server, you will need to file an answer to the complaint within the time stated in the summons.  The response time is from the date you are served.  You will then need to file a timely answer to the complaint with the court and serve it by mail on the opposing party.  If you don't timely file the answer with the court and serve it on the opposing party, you will lose by default.  If that happens, a default judgment will be entered against you.  If that occurs, you will need to file a motion to set aside the default.  If your motion is granted by the court, the case will then be back on track and litigation will continue.  If the opposing party obtains a judgment against you, the judgment could be enforced with a wage garnishment. 


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