Some days back, you collided with the car right in front of you, and you thought you could really escape all of it simply because the driver didn’t suffer any injuries. Fast forward to today, you are being hit with a car accident court summon, but before you start losing your peace of mind, know that being hit with a car accident court summon doesn’t really mean anybody is suing you.
Read on to know the next step after being served with a summons for a car accident and have a good understanding of what a court summons is.
What Is A Summon?
A summon is a piece of the document sent to an individual or organization requesting them to appear in court for several reasons. The reason could either be;
- Answering a minor criminal charge
- Defending yourself against a civil lawsuit that falls within a particular time or period
- Notification requesting you to appear as a witness
- Notification requesting you to appear in court as jury service
The summons would also carry the name of the court, the case docket number, and the names of the parties involved. If you are a defendant, then the summons you would receive would come with a complaint. They could send the summons either by mail or in person.
Next Step After Being Served With Summons For Car Accident
If it is in the case of a car accident, the court summons you would receive would likely come to you as a witness to a car accident or as a defendant. If you are being summoned to court as a witness, you will testify about the accident.
Unlike other car accident cases, you don’t really need an attorney to represent you because you are not being charged here or faced with any liability. However, if the statement you have to give contains incriminating information, then you might consider talking to an attorney to ensure nothing is used against you.
Furthermore, if you have nothing to do with the case or you were at the accident scene, it is still essential for you to respond to the court summon. For example, if the summon you are receiving is coming to you as a defendant to a minor criminal case or a civil lawsuit, you would have to file a response to the complaint.
First, you need to contact your insurance company before filing an answer, especially if it involves property damage or personal injury. Second, you should send a copy of the summons you received to your insurer. Third, insurance companies have contractual duties to hire an attorney to represent their customer and pay for the attorney’s fees.
Failing to have car insurance coverage means you would need to hire an attorney and pay for charges on your own.
You can also choose to represent yourself without an attorney but have it in mind that representing yourself comes with many risks that negatively affect you. To win your case, understanding applicable laws and following court procedures are what you must do.
It is why you must contact a personal injury lawyer before appearing in court. Contacting an attorney should be the first thing that you do after receiving a court summons so you can figure out the legal options you have before taking any step.
You may be penalized for not adhering to the strict court procedures so before you file an answer, be sure to reach out to an attorney right away.
In your best interest, you and your attorney file a response to the summons you received. In every paragraph, you should address the complaint either by denying or admitting or claiming that it is insufficient for you to deny or admit.
Summary – Next Step After Being Served With Summons For Car Accident
The summons would also tell you how long you have to respond, and failure to do so would result in a judgment against you. Therefore, you need to respond within the time frame the summons demands that you respond to the complaint filed against you.