What is my obligation to pay for repairs after I rear-ended a pick-up truck and offered to pay for the damages myself?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What is my obligation to pay for repairs after I rear-ended a pick-up truck and offered to pay for the damages myself?

The driver agreed and gave me the estimate for damages. I gave her the money and asked for the receipt when work was complete. Now, 2 months later, she has contacted me again and said she is getting work done and there will be additional charges, however I still haven’t gotten a receipt of any work done. Is a time limit in which she had to get the repairs done? I do not know what further damage she could have caused to the truck by driving it for 2 months or if she could have had another accident. Am I obligated to pay these additional fees to her?

Asked on November 11, 2015 under Accident Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

1) The time limit to find other damage or charges for which you may be liable is 4 years, as defined by your state's statute of limitations.
2) IF you caused the damage by rear-ending her, you have to pay--you are liable for it. But if you didn't cause it *at the time of collision* but rather it is problem that developed later because she did not properly repair or deal with the problem, so it worsened due to her inactivity, you are not liable, since her failure to take appropriate action is not your fault. Of course, proving it's one or the other may be difficult. 
3) Similarly, you are not liable if the damage came from a later accident or event. 
If in doubt, you could refuse to pay and let her sue you for the money; to win, she'd have to prove that you caused the damage and the amount or cost to repair it.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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