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Car accident - driver left country

San Francisco, CA |

If the driver of a car that injured me badly has left the country after I sued them, what action can I take? Can there be any warrant issued against them that can be pursued? The driver was very reckless but did not receive any ticket on the spot.

Is it possible they might have criminal charges later, or is this a purely civil issue?

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Attorney answers 5


I presume that if you are injured badly, you have counsel. Ask that counsel what your options are. Having handled similar matters in the past in Clorado, you may be able to pursue something called a default judgment. The challenge for you is that the person who hurt you has an obligation to assit his/her insurance company in defending against your claims and a lack of cooperation can compromise coverage and thus, the ability you have to collect!

Best of luck to you. Talk to your attorney!

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


You just have serve the person with the lawsuit. You may have to hire an investigator to make efforts to serve the defendant wherever he/she is. If this cannot be done, then you may have to take steps to serve by publication. By the way, if the other person was driving a rental car, there is a new law that says the driver can be served through the rental car company.

Good luck.


As it applies to you, it is surely a civil action.You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.

Do not delay in speaking with an attorney.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

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.


If you have served the defendant and he/she was insured at the time of the accident, then you don't need to worry so much about locating the defendant, as his insurance company is obligation to defend the action and eventually pay for your damages. If you weren't able to serve the defendant, there are other ways to get the process forward. Often, a courtesy call to the insurance company, notifying them that their insured has been sued and asking whether they will answer on their insured's behalf is enough to move things forward, as generally insurance companies are not intersted in having a default judgment against their insured, so often they are willing to accept service on their insured's behalf. If they refused to do that, there are other ways to serve the defendant, including service by publication, but this should be your last option.


Arkady Itkin
San Francisco Accident Injury Laywer


You should hire a California personal injury attorney to make sure all of your options for recovery are followed. If you know who the other driver's insurance company is, they can be contacted directly. Your own insurance may provide uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage which would also provide coverage for your personal injury claim. There are many excellent attorneys listed on AVVO that can represent you and recover the maximum settlement or judgment for you.

Barron Law Corporation 916-486-1712 or 800-529-5908. No attorney client relationship is created by this answer.