Can a person sue me almost a year after an accident?

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Can a person sue me almost a year after an accident?

I was hanging out with one of my friends at the time and I backed into her car and dented her door. She told me not to worry about it, and so I didn’t. A couple months later she’s asking me to buy a new door, so I start looking at buying a door from a junk yard or a used one offline. In fact I found one at a junk yard, that was flawless but she didn’t want it because her car is black and the door was white. A month or so after that she asks me for $100 so her friend’s dad can bring a door down, so I gladly handed over the money. Then, 2 or 3 months after that, she asked me for $700 for a new door, so I referred back to the junk yard idea. Now, here we are over 10 months after the accident, and she’s going to sue me for $1200. What do I do? Is it too late for insurance to get involved?

Asked on April 27, 2017 under Accident Law, Idaho

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, someone can sue you a year later: in your state, someone can sue over damage to a car up to three years later. Since you backed into her, you are at fault; therefore, she is likely to win. She can sue you for the provable reasonable cost to repair the damage which she can show that you caused--i.e. the reasonable cost to repair or replace the door professionally and paint it so that it matches. Anything you have already paid to her (e.g. the $100) should be a credit or offset vs. what you might otherwise owe her.
You can try to get insurance involved (i.e. your insurer), but it may be too late: most insurance policies contain an obligation that you report potential claims to them promptly; a year later is no longer promptly, so you may be in breach of your policy obligations.


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