Sued by other party – car accident

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Sued by other party – car accident

I was involved in an accident and the other party initiated a civil lawsuit against me. I received the court summons order and it has a date for a response back. I have already informed my insurance company and sent them originals. I then received a letter from the insurance company that an attorney has been appointed but no attorney has contacted me yet. What to do? Do I need to respond to the court oder within a specified date? What’s next?

Asked on February 27, 2018 under Personal Injury, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Review the papers. If they say that you must file an "answer" by a certain date, if no answer is filed in time, you will lose by "default" (like forfeiting a ball game or tennis match by not showing up). If it does not require an answer but just has a trial or hearing date, you (or your attorney) must show by that date or else you will again lose by default. Contact the insurer again, review the date and what needs to be done by that date, explain that no lawyer has contacted you and request the lawyer's name and contact information. 
If they provide you that information, contact the attorney and make sure he or she is working on the case. If they don't provide attorney information, follow up in writing, sent some fast ways that you can prove delivery (e.g. fax and express certified mail) reiterating the facts, the result of your conversation, and that if they do not put you in contact with the lawyer they retained for you at least a full week in advance of the deadline, you will retain your own attorney and expect the insurer to pay for it. Then if need be, hire the lawyer, to make sure you do not default. (Note: if being sued in small claims court, for around $3k or less, you may wish to act as your own attorney or "pro se" and show up to court or file the answer yourself, as a reasonable alternative to hiring a lawyer for a small matter.)

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 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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