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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.

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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