How long after someone incurs a debt to you, can you still sue them?

I co-signed for my stepdaughter’s car. The loan was upside down due to a trade-in with a balance. She then lent the car to her friend who got drunk and totaled it. After insurance paid out there was a $7,000 balance which I had to pay off to keep my credit score. It was now been 5 years since the accident and someone said I should have sued the friend, as she had agreed to pay for it but only gave me $100. Could I still sue for the $7,000 I paid out. Is it too late now.

Asked on September 25, 2015 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

d on what you write, it is to late to sue. The "statute of limitations" is how long you have to file a lawsuit if you don't file the suit within that time frame, you cannot sue. In Washington state, the statutes of limitations for property damage e.g. totaling the car and for an oral/verbal agreement the agreement to pay is only 3 years. In California, the statutes are 3 and 2 years, respectively. Therefore, in both states in which you could potentially have sued, based on what you write, it is too late to pay.


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