The Plaintiff waited 2 years 8 months after the accident to sue me? Am I protected by the statute of limitations in CA?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Santa Monica, CA

I was involved in an accident. My insurance had previously lapsed. The man I hit collected his own "uninsured motorist" insurance. They paid him $15,000 bodily injury and about $5000 in property damages. I was never contacted regarding the accident. Now his insurance company (the Plaintiff) is suing me for the amount they paid out. They filed with the court two years and eight months after the accident occurred in California. Also they claimed to have served my mother (not me) with the court papers, but they never really did that either. They just claimed they did and started mailing all of the paperwork to her address. I haven't lived there in over 10 years.

Attorney answers (10)

  1. David Lee Fiol

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Under California law the insurance company has three years to bring the kind of claim that they brought again you (it is called a subrogated claim), and it starts from the time they paid the money to their insured, so it appears the claim is timely. I think you are right that they have failed to serve you properly, but attempting to avoid service generally is an unproductive exercise for you and could only get you into a larger judgment that you would have otherwise. I strongly suggest that you hire a lawyer and do your best to come to terms with the insurance company, if you want to avoid a judgment being entered against you.

  2. Antoinette Cara Liewen

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A statute of limitations bar must be pled as an affirmative defense in your answer. The court will not raise this issue on its own. Do not ignore this lawsuit or a default judgment will be entered against you. A judgment can result in your bank accounts being levied, your wages garnished or your property liened. Consult an attorney ASAP.

    DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided solely for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal... more
  3. George Costas Andriotis

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Consult a defense attorney ASAP as you must raise statute as a defense to claim.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at
  4. Stacy E Pepper


    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to hire a defense attorney now.

    Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in... more
  5. Michelle Sara Rofeh

    Contributor Level 8


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Defending a suit may be costly and because you we're not insured, you will have to pay for attorney fees and any judgment out of pocket. You may want to see a local bankruptcy attorney for your bankruptcy options.

    The information above is not intended to, nor does it constitute legal advice.
  6. Christian K. Lassen II


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Retain a local lawyer to resolve this.

  7. David Thomas Dorer

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The insurance company's claims for subbrogation or indemnification are separate and apart from the Plaintiff's claim against you for personal injury. The statute of limitations for those claims usually starts running from the time that the uninsured motorist carrier first paid out on the claim. You need to talk to a skilled lawyer about your defenses.

    Answers to questions does not create an attorney/client relationship. I only am your attorney if I have entered... more
  8. Edgar Julio Gutierrez

    Contributor Level 7


    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . This is called a subrogation lawsuit. The answer to your question is yes, they can sue you as a "subrogated" party- by law, they stand in the shoes of their insured. They can sue you within 3 years of the loss for property damage so the complaint is timely. Based on your description, it seems that you did not have insurance at the time of your accident. You will be personally responsible for all damages paid by the other party's insurance company. If you do not arrive at some settlement with them, they will default you and take a judgment. You will inevitably go into a collection and the can apply to the DMV to suspend your DL. Best advice is to hire a lawyer to negotiate a settlement with you, if you can afford one. If not, you need to start working on a settlement with the other party now.

    The responses provided at this site are not and are not intended to be, legal advice or a guarantee of the outcome... more
  9. Manuel Alzamora Juarez

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you have the money and can pay the claim in installments, get a lawyer to help you with this. Listen to all other counsels advice. However, if you do not have the money, I urge you to see a BK lawyer right now, to stop any further collection proceedings. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de... more
  10. Christopher Steven Hoffmann

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hire a car accident attorney immediately to handle this matter in your state.

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