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?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.


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