The thing is, if they mailed you a complaint they will SAY they've subserved, even if not true. It's wild wild west time in our courts nowadays and debt collectors are getting away with murder. If you've been mailed the complaint you NEED to speak to a debt defense atty right away. Find someone good here: http://www.naca.net
You told him it was a lease the day prior and he made no adjustment. That's a sign he's full of crap. That and the fact he works for an insurance company. If your car is totaled, that sounds like a serious accident. Are you OK? Do you have an attorney? If not, why? The atty could be handling this nonsense for you...
Whether the insurance OR the company he drove for OR he himself pays, your cousin should be able to get appropriate compensation. Feel free to contact my office first thing on Monday OR if your cousin is able to do so have her contact us. We will get her and the kids the appropriate help. In the meantime, it may be helpful to get a hold of the police report.
This one, at least the problems you are complaining about may b covered under the lemon law, if we can show there is some type of warranty. It is a bit confusing as you state initially that at least one mechanic said it was OK and perhaps another one did not? A good review of the sale related documents may explain things a bit better and allow something to be done.
Most judgments can be augmented to include the cost of recovering the judgment. There are attorneys who specialize in collecting. They can do post judgment discovery and/or start other collection proceedings which may force this person to pay up. Find someone who specializes in collections for your best options.
If the other driver has insurance it is likely a good case. If not, it will be too tough to ever collect any judgment against that person. Feel free to contact my office in Santa Clara for further input, if you wish.