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The Plaintiff waited 2 years 8 months after the accident to sue me? Am I protected by the statute of limitations in CA?

Santa Monica, CA |

I was involved in an accident. My insurance had previously lapsed. The man I hit collected his own "uninsured motorist" insurance. They paid him $15,000 bodily injury and about $5000 in property damages. I was never contacted regarding the accident. Now his insurance company (the Plaintiff) is suing me for the amount they paid out. They filed with the court two years and eight months after the accident occurred in California. Also they claimed to have served my mother (not me) with the court papers, but they never really did that either. They just claimed they did and started mailing all of the paperwork to her address. I haven't lived there in over 10 years.

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This is called a subrogation lawsuit. The answer to your question is yes, they can sue you as a "subrogated" party- by law, they stand in the shoes of their insured. They can sue you within 3 years of the loss for property damage so the complaint is timely. Based on your description, it seems that you did not have insurance at the time of your accident. You will be personally responsible for all damages paid by the other party's insurance company. If you do not arrive at some settlement with them, they will default you and take a judgment. You will inevitably go into a collection and the can apply to the DMV to suspend your DL. Best advice is to hire a lawyer to negotiate a settlement with you, if you can afford one. If not, you need to start working on a settlement with the other party now.

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A statute of limitations bar must be pled as an affirmative defense in your answer. The court will not raise this issue on its own. Do not ignore this lawsuit or a default judgment will be entered against you. A judgment can result in your bank accounts being levied, your wages garnished or your property liened. Consult an attorney ASAP.

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You need to hire a defense attorney now.

Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160


Consult a defense attorney ASAP as you must raise statute as a defense to claim.

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Under California law the insurance company has three years to bring the kind of claim that they brought again you (it is called a subrogated claim), and it starts from the time they paid the money to their insured, so it appears the claim is timely. I think you are right that they have failed to serve you properly, but attempting to avoid service generally is an unproductive exercise for you and could only get you into a larger judgment that you would have otherwise. I strongly suggest that you hire a lawyer and do your best to come to terms with the insurance company, if you want to avoid a judgment being entered against you.

Mark David Brynteson

Mark David Brynteson


I agree-if you have a legitimate defense that a court an definitively rule on, that is the best course of action rather than not responding. The Law Is About People Mark D. Brynteson Attorney at Law 2969 Rolling Meadow Court Belvidere, Illinois 61008 (o) 815-569-4280 (o) 815-975-3102 (o) 815-975-3103 (f) 866-459-4075 E-mail: web site:


Retain a local lawyer to resolve this.


Defending a suit may be costly and because you we're not insured, you will have to pay for attorney fees and any judgment out of pocket. You may want to see a local bankruptcy attorney for your bankruptcy options.

The information above is not intended to, nor does it constitute legal advice.


The insurance company's claims for subbrogation or indemnification are separate and apart from the Plaintiff's claim against you for personal injury. The statute of limitations for those claims usually starts running from the time that the uninsured motorist carrier first paid out on the claim. You need to talk to a skilled lawyer about your defenses.

Answers to questions does not create an attorney/client relationship. I only am your attorney if I have entered into a written contract, signed by me, wherein I expressly assent to be your attorney. Nothing I post should be construed as legal advice to be acted upon, it is merely a legal opinion.


If you have the money and can pay the claim in installments, get a lawyer to help you with this. Listen to all other counsels advice. However, if you do not have the money, I urge you to see a BK lawyer right now, to stop any further collection proceedings. Best of luck.

This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.


Hire a car accident attorney immediately to handle this matter in your state.

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