Can I be held accountable for damages in an collision that occurred 16 months ago?

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Can I be held accountable for damages in an collision that occurred 16 months ago?

We agreed at the time that there was no visible damage to his car.

Asked on February 2, 2012 under Accident Law, Washington

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you forsubmitting your question regarding the possible statute of limitations for your car accident.  You should be aware that with every area of law there is a statute of limitations, which means there is a time period by which a person can file a lawsuit for an accident or injury.  Usually the statute of limitations will vary depending on the state where the accident occurred or where the lawsuit is filed. 

Your question is whether you can be held accountable for damages that occurred 16 months ago.  That depends on the state where the accident occurred, the state where you are a licensed driver, or the state where the other driver is a licensed driver.  Usually, all of these states will allow for a lawsuit to be brought in their state.  In car accident cases, the statute of limitations is generally two years.  However, just because someone can bring a lawsuit does not mean that you will automatically be responsible for paying for damages.

The person bringing the lawsuit needs to prove that you have breached some duty to them and that it was the breach of that duty that caused damaged to their vehicle.  Your insurance company will have every opportunity to examine their vehicle and assess whether or not the damage to their vehicle is old or new damage.  If the damage to their vehicle occurred last week and not 16 months ago, then your insurance adjuster will be able to make that determination.  If the other driver is not able to prove their case then you will not be responsible for the damages. 

 


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