How can an insurance companyhave a judgement against me if I had insurance and was never notified of the suit?

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How can an insurance companyhave a judgement against me if I had insurance and was never notified of the suit?

I was in a car accident 6 years ago that was determined to be both at fault on the police report. We both had insurance and gave that at the scene.

Asked on January 26, 2012 under Accident Law, South Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It would be advisable to contact the insurance company you had at the time of the accident.  The insurance company will provide you with an attorney at no cost to you.

What may have happened was that the case was not settled between your insurance company and the other driver's insurance company, then a lawsuit was filed against you.  If the other insurance company claimed that you were served with the summons and complaint (the complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons) and you didn't respond by filing an answer to the complaint within the time set forth in the summons, then a default judgment was entered against you.  Another possibility is that if you moved out of the area and your whereabouts were unknown, you may have been served by publication.  Service by publication is running a notice of the lawsuit in the legal notices section of a newspaper for a specific period of time (the required time for the notice to run varies from state to state).  Even if you didn't see the notice, it is still valid service by publication.  If you didn't see the notice and did not timely file an answer to the complaint, again a judgment by default would have been entered against you.

If you had been properly served with the lawsuit, all that you would have needed to do would have been to forward it to your insurance company and the insurance company's attorney would have handled it for you.

What can be done now is to contact your insurance company and their attorney can file a motion to set aside the default.  If the court grants the motion, the case is then back on track and litigation will continue.

 


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