You are currently viewing How To Serve A Lawsuit On A Nonresident Driver In California

What is dark within me, illumine.”

John Milton

Lots of people visit California. Some of those people are responsible for car crashes. Here are the steps you need to follow to serve a lawsuit on a nonresident driver in California.

  1. Determine if the person responsible for the car crash is a nonresident driver. Get the police report and read it. It should tell you whether the person is a nonresident driver. It should also tell you that person’s out-of-state address. For reference, Vehicle Code § 17450 defines “nonresident.”
  2. File the lawsuit and get conformed copies from the court.
  3. Hire a process server to serve the conformed copies on the California DMV Director. See Vehicle Code § 17454. Or you can mail it via certified or registered mail. The current address is 2415 1st Ave, Sacramento, CA 95818. Pay the Director $2. Provide to a cover letter stating your intent and the name and address of the nonresident driver.
  4. Take a copy of the conformed copies and mail it to the nonresident driver by registered mail. See Vehicle Code § 17455.
  5. Wait for the nonresident driver to sign for the registered mail. Once he or she signs, then file a proof of service with the court. See Vehicle Code § 17456.
  6. The nonresident driver has 60 days to file a responsive pleading. See Vehicle Code § 17462.

Questions? Contact Me for a free consultation.

Evan Walker

Evan W. Walker is a La Jolla attorney who has practiced law since 2008. He has practiced law throughout California, Connecticut, and Louisiana.

Evan worked for and defended insurance companies during the first 7 years of his practice. Since 2015, he has represented people with personal injury and property damage claims and insurance disputes.

Evan’s practice is devoted to serious personal injury claims and catastrophic property damage claims. Areas of focus include security claims against bars and other businesses, government tort claims, fire and flood claims, and inverse condemnation. On behalf of clients, Evan has fought insurance firms, international companies, cities, bars, and casinos.

Evan regularly shares his expertise with other attorneys by teaching courses on insurance and inverse condemnation. He has taught several continuing legal education courses to Attorney Credits, a nationwide CLE company, and ProLawCLE, another nationwide CLE company. He also contributes to various podcasts and publications.


  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, San Diego Bar Association
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
  • Member, La Jolla Bar Association
  • Member, La Jolla Village Merchants Association
  • Member, San Diego Chamber of Commerce