What to do if I was served this weekend with a lawsuit regarding a car accident that happened 2 years ago but I had already sold the car by then?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What to do if I was served this weekend with a lawsuit regarding a car accident that happened 2 years ago but I had already sold the car by then?

I sold the vehicle 3 years ago and have had parking tickets and a letter from an insurance company contact me after I sold the vehicle. I am being sued with another person (who was driving the car and involved in the accident) by the other party’s insurance company. The lawsuit is for $15,000. I released liability from the vehicle the day I sold it and took it off my insurance as well. The summons said I should get a lawyer and need to respond within 30 days. The driver of my old car was uninsured, I’m guessing he never registered the vehicle which is why I received parking tickets in the past after I had sold the car.

Asked on November 23, 2015 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

1) Yes, you need to respond to the lawsuit (file an answer) within the stated period or else you will lose by "default"--that's like a ball team forfeiting by not showing up to a game. In that case, there will be a judgment against you that you have to pay money, and the person suing you can engage in collections against you.
2) Your best defense will be to prove that you sold the car and  no longer owned it, even if the buyer never registered. Pull together all your documentation of sale (bill of sale; evidence of the money or payment you received for the car; etc.) and witnesses who can testify you sold it and no longer owned it. You are also advised to retain an attorney to help you.

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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