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If I backed into someone 3 years ago, can they still file a claim through their insurance for damages?

Trenton, NJ |

Three years ago I backed into a friends car and just caused a small dent. Their car was old so they didn't want me to pay them anything. We have recently gotten into a big argument and are no longer friends so they want to file a claim through insurance for the damage on the car. Is there a statute of limitations on this?

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Attorney answers 6


Quick google search returns 2 years for personal injury 6 years for injury to personal property. So it looks like your still on the hook for another 3 years.

-Michael R. Juarez Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216 San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different jurisdictions.


Do they still have the car? If not them it will be hard for them to file a claim. Also, if they do still have the car then take pictures of it right away. It is my understanding that property damage like this in New Jersey has a 6 year statute of limitations. You shoudl verify this with an attorney licensed in New Jersey.

If you had insurance at the time then turn it over to them to handle.

Good luck.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


Yes, they can still sue you and the owner of the vehicle you were driving. However, they may encounter some evidentiary issues with respect to the exact extent of the damage, especially if no police report was filed and no photographs were taken at the time of the collision. Your insurance company likely has a duty to defend you once you file a claim.

If you have additional questions, you can always contact a lawyer, whether myself or one of my colleagues. If you appreciate the time spent preparing this answer, kindly consider marking it BEST ANSWER or HELPFUL. Good luck to you.

Dean P. Murray
The Murray Law Firm
560 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
T: (201)875-2600
F: (201)549-8700

Mr. Murray's response is NOT legal advice and does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. You should NOT rely on this response. Mr. Murray's response was generated without conducting a full inquiry as would occur during a face to face attorney-client consultation. It is likely that the response above may be made less accurate, or become entirely inaccurate, as you, i.e. the questioner, disclose additional facts that should only be discussed during a private consultation with an attorney. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state (or, in the case of immigration law, and attorney in ANY state), whereupon all relevant facts will be discussed. All responses posted by Mr. Murray on are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual.


6 year statute of limitations for property damage.

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There is a 6-year statute of limitations on property damage claims, so it seems you may be subject to the damages claim. Be sure to assess whether the damage that is claimed was actually caused by your incident three years ago, or whether there is new/greater damage that your 'ex-friend' is not trying to make you pay. Ask for photographs of the damage with dates. Good luck on this.


The short answer here is: it's very unlikely. While there is a 6-year statute of limitations for damage to personal property, the SoL for auto accidents is 2 years. Regardless, and has been otherwise pointed out, your former friend will likely have an incredibly difficult time proving that his damages are caused by you, and only you, with 3 years' time in between.

If your friend came to me with nothing but the facts you present, I would not take that case. Perhaps another lawyer would.

The foregoing is not legal advice, and nothing in the foregoing shall be deemed to create an attorney client relationship. If you feel you need to speak with an attorney regarding your issue, it is recommended that you contact an attorney with expertise in your area of inquiry. The information related above is purely for informational purposes, and should not be acted upon without speaking with qualified counsel familiar with you specific situation and the laws related thereto.

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