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

UPDATED: Feb 2, 2012

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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


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

Answered 11 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. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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