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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.


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