Can I be sued a month after the accident?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be sued a month after the accident?

I rear-ended my friend’s boyfriend’s truck a month ago. He said it was no big deal and we didn’t need to exchange information after I offered multiple times. I just moved out of the area 2 weeks ago and I got a text saying he wanted it now. I’m concerned because their details keep changing, it went from being his truck to a company truck and I’m concerned now there may be more damage because they were very adamant about it not being a big deal. We didn’t file a police report or anything. How long is the statue of limitations on this kind of thing in OR? Is there a way I can make sure I’m not taking responsibility for someone else’s damage?

Asked on December 17, 2017 under Accident Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, your state has a very long statute of limitations for damage to "personal property" ("personal property" is any physical item which is not real estate, including a car or truck): six (6) years. So the other driver has years still to sue you if he wants.
If he asks to you pay an amount you find excessive or suspicious (e.g. which might include damage done previously or by someone else to the truck) you can refuse to pay and/or offer to pay only what you think is fair. If you can't agree, he can sue you; but to get a judgment in his favor, he will have to prove in court that you caused this damage by a "preponderance of the evidence" (that it is "more likely than not" that you caused it in this accident), so if you don't believe him and can't work it out with him, you can force him to prove his case in court.
Do you have insurance? If you do and he is asking  for payment, if you want the insurer to possibly cover you, you have to notify them now--if you wait too long to tell them, you may be have given up your right to coverage. Check the terms of your policy to see you obligations about notifying them in the event of an accident.

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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