My question involves insurance law for the state of: California
I rear ended someone in January of 2008. My auto insurance company paid about $500 and closed the claim.
Now, two years later, out of the blue, I received a small claims court SC-100 form.
They are suing me for the maximum amount of $7500 citing medical expenses for personal injuries and loss of earnings.
I had a few questions
1) Since they already received compensation from my insurance company, are they still able to sue me? If not, what would I need to prove this?
2) Shouldn't this be going through my insurance company? And even if I lose, shouldn't my insurance company cover it? However, from what I read, you can't bring a lawyer to small claims court. So I don't see how I'm supposed to go through my insurance company. Maybe if I lose I should file an appeal?
3) I recently changed auto insurance companies, so now I have a different insurance company than the one under which the claim was filed and resolved. Which insurance company should I contact?
4) On Form SC-100, question 4 says: "You must ask the Defendant (in person, in writing, or by phone) to pay you before you sue. Have you done this?" They marked the Yes checkbox. However, I have not been asked. Should I bother pursuing this, how would that help, and how would I even go about proving that I didn't get anything?
5) In case this does go to court, any advice? It was a low speed accident, with no visible injuries, and we both got out and exchanged insurance information. There were no witnesses and no passengers. I have pictures of the minimal damage to both cars which I plan on bringing to court. I'm not quite sure what I'm defending against, so I'm also not quite sure how to prepare for it.
Any advice would be wonderful!
Thanks in advance!