Can someone make a claim against me and win in court without my having been served or in some way notified?

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Can someone make a claim against me and win in court without my having been served or in some way notified?

My girlfriend was in a car accident in my car 2 years ago. She was hit by another vehicle; the driver was not the owner of the vehicle. I wasn’t in the car. The owner of the other car made a small claim against me for about $5000. However, I was never notified or served any documents. My license was/is suspended and has been for about 1 1/2 years. I was pulled over about 3 months ago and was notified by the police officer when she ran my license. I have looked online for any records of the incident and any other information about the crash but can’t find anything. What should I do?

Asked on November 7, 2016 under Accident Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There aren't any attorneys in Small Claims Court.  You should have been served with a summons and complaint (the complaint is the lawsuit) and would have had an opportunity to respond by filing an answer to the complaint.
A default judgment was entered against you because the answer wasn't timely filed since you were never served.
You should file a motion to set aside the default and have the judgment vacated because you were never served.  After prevailing in this matter, contact the DMV to have your license reinstated and show the DMV the judgment was vacated. 


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