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My niece was never served & never knew she was sued for an accident. It was not her fault, but no insurance. What can she do?

Indio, CA |

This accident occured in Calif. 2008. The driver of the other car begged her not to call police. He slammed into her car. Her insurance had lapsed by a few days. She was under the assuption the other driver's insurance was going to cover the damage to his car. She then moved to L.A. in 2009 (by the way...changed her address with DMV). Three weeks ago she received a letter from DMV her license is suspended due to an accident and lawsuit that had she was involved in. The court told her there was a personal injury lawsuit that she never showed for and she has a judgement for $310,000 against her. They gave us the proof of service and it states they served a man 50yrs. in 2010 at her old address. Is there anything she can do?

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Attorney answers 4


Best bet is to search Avvo for a car accident lawyer in your city who can try to handle this default judgement problem.

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She can file a motion to set aside the judgment. She will have to prove that she was never served. She will need to hire a lawyer. If she had no insurance, she will have to hire a lawyer to file the motion, get the case reopened, and then fight the Personal Injury accident case on its merit. Or she can file bankruptcy to deal with money judgment for the case. As far as DMV is concerned, I don't know the answer.


Your niece can try to set aside the default and default judgment pursuant to CCP 473.5 on the ground that she failed to receive actual notice in time to defend the action. Once the judgment is set aside then the attorney can work on defending it.


Yes, she should retain a civil defense attorney to file a motion to vacate the judgment based on a lack of personal jurisdiction due to improper service. It will be money well spent to avoid a $310,000 judgment.

Legal Disclaimer:

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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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