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Being sued for failure to complete payment of debt for damage to property which occured more than 5 years ago.

Sacramento, CA |

5 years ago, I was in a vehicular accident which resulted in the damage of a telephone pole (property of SMUD). Prior to the accident, I began making payments for the damage. However, it has yet to be paid in full, and the debt is still owed. Today, I was served papers stating that I was being sued for failute to pay off my debt. I have been doing some research into time-barred debts & the statute of limitations. I have learned that in the state of CA, the statute of limitations ranges between 2-4 years depending on the category of debt (oral, written, promissary, open). I unDerstand that the debt is still my responsibility. However, being that the accident occured more than 5 years ago, does this guarantee that there will be no judgement made against me?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Given that you you are being sued, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.


  2. The information provided is not sufficient to determine whether or not the claim is time barred. The date of the accident is not the date that starts the statute of limitations for debt collection purposes. Is there a contract that provides when the debt is to be paid in full. When was the last payment made? In either event, you should consult with an attorney or legal aid clinic to assist you in responding to the lawsuit. Good luck.


  3. It appears the statute of limitations may have run. However, I am unclear as to whether you had a specific agreement to repay the debt. If you had no agreement, the act of making payments could be construed as a revival of the debt, which could affect the statute of limitations. You should consult with a lawyer before your file the answer to the complaint so that all of the appropriate defenses can be pled in your answer. Best of luck.

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  4. No. Statute of limitations for contracts is 4 years. Your contractual debt falls within that category. You will be defaulted if you do not answer. The fact that the accident happened more than five years ago is very relevant and the SOL would have applied had you not made any type of payments. The moment you started payments, the debt was revived and the SOL begins as of the date of the last payment you made on the debt. For example if you stopped making payments last year, then you have three years to go to avail yourself of the new SOL for an old debt. You should consult with a PI attorney before you decide to handle this again on your own. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.

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