Disclaimer: The materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
Mr. Levy is correct. However, if there is a good chance plaintiff's claim will exceed your policy limits, you must look into retaining additional defense attorney (often referred to as "Cumus Counsel"). You should consult your own lawyer to protect your legal rights.
As I am licensed in Florida and Vermont, I cannot offer you specific legal advice as to California state law. However, generally, if you had insurance at the time of this incident, your insurance carrier probably owes you a defense. You should immediately forward any suit papers to your insurance carrier, via certified, return receipted mail. You also should call them on the phone and advise them that you have been sued, keeping a record of the name of the person you spoke with and the time of the conversation.
As mentioned by another attorney above, you may wish to obtain your own attorney if there is the possibility that any judgment which may be rendered against you will exceed your liability limit. In the future, it is probably advisable for you to purchase more than $5000 in coverage, as even minor accidents these days result in more than $5000 worth of damage to both vehicles.
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