What can I do after I bought my vehicle if I found out that it was a total loss vehicle and built from salvaged parts?

I’ve had my vehicle for 5 years. I asked for a carfax report when I bought it but the seller said it would be best to have my mechanic take a look at it. After 1.5 years it started really giving me

problems. It was in/out of the dealership for issues; sometimes I’d get it back and a day later it was back in. Certain things they fixed, others I still had to pay for, and some things they couldn’t figure out. I tried to trade it in a year or so ago and that’s when I found out that it had

been in an accident. Going through a trade-in process now to be told it was considered a total loss in 8 years earlier and built from salvage parts. I had no idea about this or even the

accident. What is your suggestion on the action I should take? Friends say that it was illegal for them not to disclose that to me before purchase and if it’s under investigation, can I still trade it in?

Asked on June 1, 2016 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if you have had your car for 5 years, it is too late to take legal action. The "statute of limitations," or SOL, is how long you have to bring a legal action: all legal actions (e.g. lawsuits) must be started before the SOL expires. The SOL starts running in a case like this when you buy the car. The two SOLs whch might apply are for fraud (them lying to you) and for breach of contract (not getting a car in the condition you agreed to buy). However, in your state, the maximum SOL for both causes of action is only 3 years, so once 3 years passed from when you bought the car, you could no longer sue. At 5 years, it is too late to do anything.


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