This answer assumes you or the person who owned the car you were operating had insurance. Send the suit papers to the proper insurance company immediately for further handling. The carrier will assign you an attorney under the terms of the insurance policy. That's what you have insurance for. If you or the owner had no coverage, you need to consult with an attorney before doing anything but do it soon. You don't want to give the plaintiff the right to enter a default judgment against you.
Disclaimer- The information you obtain at our web-site or through postings on such sites as this is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific advice regarding your individual situation. Any response given here is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response may change appropriately.
My colleague is correct. If you were properly insured at the time of the car accident, then your insurance company will be responsible for engaging a lawyer to protect your interest. If you were insured, contact your insurance company and provide your insurance company with a copy of all paperwork you received.
As far as a response...35 days does include weekends. If you weren't insured, you should really attempt to obtain a lawyer. There are many pro bono organizations who may be able to provide you with legal assistance at little to no cost to you.
DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.
If the case is in New York you count every day from the date of service. And if you're insured you contact your insurance company ASAP and get their help with a lawyer!
Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.
If the lawsuit is in NY the answer must be filed within 20 days if you were personally served and within 30 days otherwise. Weekends do count, except that if the last day falls on a day the court is closed it gets extended to the next court day. If you were covered by insurance you should report the claim to your carrier.
I do NOT know you. I am NOT your lawyer. This answer is provided for the general public who may have similar queries. The answer provided is NOT definitive. I do NOT know all of the facts of your case and NO attorney-client relationship is established. Please do not use my answer to tell your lawyer what to do. Free advise is worth exactly what you are paying. Trust the lawyer who is charging you for his/her time and expertise. If you can no longer trust your lawyer, then hire someone else. I am always interested in new clients and business opportunities and would welcome your call or email to discuss matters further. For more information, please feel free to visit my website or schedule an appointment.
You should immediately forward the summons to your insurance company. Your insurance company will ordinarily assign an attorney to defend the case on your behalf. If you do not have insurance, you should consult with an attorney immediately, to protect your rights. The plaintiff under those circumstances should be advised to seek uninsured motorist insurance coverage. In any event, efforts should be undertaken to ensure that the risk to your personal assets is minimized, if not eliminated. I am available to discuss the matter in further detail should you care to do so.
Notify your insurance carrier ASAP and it will assign a lawyer to defend you and cover any settlement or judgment up to your policy limit.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
The first thing you should do is contact your insurance company. (I hope you reported the accident to your insurer when it happened.) Insurance companies require that accidents be reported to them within a reasonable time, usually thirty days. The insurance company is required to provide you with a lawyer to defend the suit, up to the amount of your policy. In other words, if you have a $25,000 policy but you're sued for $50,000, the insurance company isn't liable for more than $25,000. You'd be liable for any amount over what the insurer has to pay.
I am an attorney admitted solely in NY. None of the answers I submit on this forum constitutes legal advice, even to questioners in NY, and no attorney-client relationship is hereby created.