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Served process for a car wreck but it isn't me (mistaken identity)

Plano, TX |

How do you reply to a civil citation which was served but it isn't really you? This is for a 2 year old car wreck that I was not involved in but my name is close to whom they are looking for. I found the actual guy online in 2 minutes. What do I actually need to do and is there recourse for recovering my expenses from plaintiff or his attorney for not doing their own work?

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Attorney answers 5


I actually had this happen to a client of mine. Same name -- wrong person. I contacted the attorney for the party on behalf of whom the process was served, and I explained the situation. I also provided proof that my client was not the person being sought in the litigation.

I don't see you being able to recover any expenses? What expenses did you have anyway? Call plaintiffs' attorney and explain the situation. You'll likely do nothing more than mail the paperwork back to the attorney.

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.


I agree with Attorney Peoples, call the other party's lawyer and explain the situation, provide proof that you are not the correct person as needed and demand an immediate dismissal, the lawyer will have no interest in maintaining the lawsuit against the wrong defendant which could expose him and his client to damages for wrongful prosecution.

Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.


Hi, I agree with Counselors Peoples and Buzunis. I can add that you DO NOT want to ignore this, since if left unattended it could cost you more in time and money to resolve later. You might also consider contacting your automobile insurance carrier to see if they will provide you legal defense for this potentially frivolous claim.

Of course, as always this answer is general in nature, applies only to Illinois law, assumes certain facts omitted from the question and does not take into account any facts specific to any person’s particular circumstances. No attorney/client relation is created hereunder and I highly recommend you seek first the counsel and advice of an experienced contested civil litigator prior to taking any actions relating to this matter, as seemingly insignificant actions may have unintended consequences.


I agree with everyone and especially with the advice to not ignore the suit. If Plaintiff's attorney does make it right before your answer is due (the Monday after the 20th day you were served), make sure you file an answer and plead "misidentification".

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Contact your auto liability insurance carrier immediately. Even though you did nothing wrong, you must answer the lawsuit timely or you will lose automatically. Your insurer is duty bound to hire and pay a lawyer to defend you. I strongly suggest that you not try to handle this on your own.

No, you cannot recover any money from anyone on account of this.

Good luck.