As mentioned you should forward a copy of the complaint to your insurance company and they will hire lawyers to defend your interests. This is why we have insurance.
Chances are, however, that your carrier has decided to dispute the claim - likely because you said you were not at fault - and this has led to the lawsuit being commenced. Just because you say you didn't do it does not mean that they won't sue you over the event especially if they believe you did. In fact, situations like this where there is a sharp dispute of the facts often lead to a suit being filed.
Regardless you should not file an answer with the court and if you feel as though your insurance company is dragging their feet, send them a certified letter with a copy of the complaint telling then so. Good luck
The aforementioned opinion does not constitute legal advice and is for general educational purposes only. See an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for competent legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed through the within legal question and answer session.
Typically, plaintiff attorneys contact the insurance company of the person they think is responsible, which is likely what happened here, that the plaintiff attorney for the NJ Turnpike contacted your insuance company and negotiated with them to get paid for the property damage.
If you were not responsible, then most likely your insurance company refused to pay, but the plaintiff attorney disagreed, so the plaintiff attorney was forced to file a lawsuit against you for payment. After the plaintiff attorney filed suit, he was obligated to serve a copy of that complaint on you directly. Many times, but not always, the plaintiff attorney would send a courtesy copy to the insurance company to give them a heads up on the lawsuit, but not always, and not required.
It is now your obligation to notify your insurance company of the lawsuit, at which point, they will take it from there, defend the case, and if it is determined that it was your fault, then they would make payment, if any. If it is not your fault, then they will not make payment.
Often the person who gets the complaint ignores it, or doesn’t respond right way, which is why I send a copy directly to the insurance company, which might have happened here (and if so, they will likely give you a call), but regardless, it is still your obligation to turn it into your insurance carrier, and then let them take it from there.
Each case is fact senstive, so all answers should be viewed as general advice only, and should never replace a thorough and in depth consultation with an experienced attorney. Further, an answer should not be seen as establishing an attorney-client relationship.
Firstly, I would call and speak with a supervisor at your insurance company. Find out what the claim number is that they have assigned to the claim against you. Tell them that they need to file an answer to the complaint. Make note of the time and date and the person you speak with at your insurance company.
If you have not done so already, you should send a copy of the summons and complaint to your insurance company, by return receipted mail. Send a cover letter demanding that they defend you. Keep a copy of everything you send to them.
Keep in contact with your insurance carrier and make sure they are assigning an attorney to represent you. Once an attorney is appointed, schedule a face-to-face meeting with your defense attorney to discuss the entire matter. While the attorney's bill will be paid by your carrier, the attorney owes a duty and allegiance to you, not the carrier. The attorney is your attorney and owes you a fiduciary duty.
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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.
This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.
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