If I’m being sued for an accident that wascaused by a medical condition, what can I do that will help my case?

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If I’m being sued for an accident that wascaused by a medical condition, what can I do that will help my case?

I was driving along and suddenly started loosing consciousness. The fear of it while being nearly unconscious caused me to jolt (caused the wheel to turn) and I accidentally crashed into the other vehicle next to me (other lane). I didn’t have insurance and that was the only ticket I got, but the prosecutor dropped the charges for the no-insurance with prejudice saying I wasn’t at fault. Now the insurance co. is suing me by jury for an amount that is way beyond the damages after they told me I could make payments. They never called me back, just sent me a summons. What can I do in my state?

Asked on December 11, 2010 under Accident Law, South Dakota


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You should respond to the lawsuit (the lawsuit is the Complaint attached to the Summons) by filing an Answer to the Complaint.  The Answer denies the allegations in the Complaint.  It would be advisable to have an attorney represent you. 

If it is not feasible for you to be represented by an attorney, at the law library look in the index of Pleading and Practice under Answer to Complaint.  This will give you the general format for an Answer and will also provide sample answers to complaints.  At the end of the Answer, you will see the Verification.  The Verification should be included in your Answer .  The Verification attests to the veracity of the statements in your Answer signed under penalty of perjury.  The Answer needs to be filed with the court and served on the other party (insurance company) within the time period stated in the Summons.  Attach a proof of service to the answer.  For the proof of service, you can use a court form or you can write your own.  If you write your own proof of service, it just says that you are over 18 and the attached document (Answer to Complaint) was sent via first class mail unless otherwise specified to _______ (name and address of attorney for insurance company) on ________ (date).  You sign the proof of service under penalty of perjury.  The date you sign, the date of mailing and the date you file the answer and proof of service with the court should all be the same date.

If you don't file an Answer to the Complaint, you will lose the case by default.

You should obtain your medical records showing that you have the medical condition you claim for losing consciousness.  You should also use the judgment and records from the other case in which you were determined to have not been at fault in the accident. The medical records and the court record from the other case will help you at trial or if the case doesn't go to trial, to try to resolve it.

Again, it would be advisable to have an attorney represent you.

If you do not prevail in the case and the insurance company gets a judgment against you, you might want to consider filing bankruptcy.  Your eligibility to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will depend on your income and other factors.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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