Newbury Park, CA asked in Car Accidents for California

Q: Can you be taken to court in absence for rental car damage in UK.

Husband took ill while driving car and taken to hospital. Daughter who wasn't on rental agreement was driving car back to hotel and got in accident. Car company say we are liable for cost of car, which is a lot of money. Can they sue us in our absence? And what would happen if we can't pay it?

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, you can be sued in your absence. The rental car company can take the judgment, bring it to CA and have the CA courts recognize it and enter a new judgment that the British judgment is enforceable, then your bank accounts can be levied, your wages garnished, and liens placed against your property. Not saying that all of that will happen, but it can. Notify your auto insurer and check the credit car benefits for the card you used to pay for the rental car. It may include protection for the auto.

However, since your daughter was driving, your insurer and the credit card benefit may not apply. A defense to the breach of contract claim can be impossibility or impracticability, which would cause an examination of the direness of your husband's illness. If he was just feeling under the weather and didn't require any medical care, that's probably not good enough.

If there is no insurance available, and you don't want to hire an attorney in the UK to defend yourself (including whether or not your daughter is even at fault, the percentage of fault, and the amount of reasonable damages), you (and your daughter) can either work out payments, negotiate a lower settlement, or file for bankruptcy. Don't give anyone any money without a simultaneous exchange of a signed Settlement Agreement and Release.

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: more info needed

they can get a judgment from another state or country, and then have a calif court issues it's own judgment honoring it, and then levy on your assets.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.