Visitor Question

Liability for Damaging a Parked Car 3 Years Ago?

Submitted By: Maykol (Seattle, WA)

I accidentally bumped a parked car 3 years ago while I was parking and left a note on the damaged car with my contact information. I received a call after a few days from an the owner’s (I think) insurance company asking for a form of payment. I informed them I could only do an installment plan. Then I did not receive any contact from them for 3 years.

A few days ago I received a call regarding that accident. I was wondering… Is that claim still valid after 3 years has elapsed? Can they suspend my driver’s license or car registration? Thanks!

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Maykol,

You may or may not still be responsible for the payment to the insurance company. The State of Washington has a 3 years Statute of Limitations on civil matters related to car accidents and similar items. If over 3 years has elapsed, you should be immune from a lawsuit or resulting judgment.

That point may be moot if the State of Washington Motor Vehicle Department decides to suspend your driver’s license for non-payment of a car accident amount.

Unfortunately, Washington’s MVD is not bound by the 3 year Statute of Limitations. So if they are going to suspend your license anyway, you don’t seem to have much of a choice. All you can do is ask the Motor Vehicle Department for a payment plan.

Before agreeing to make any payments, you have a right to see the estimate for repairs. You need to be sure the estimate isn’t inflated. If you want to contest the amount of the estimate, you can notify the Motor Vehicle Department. They have a review process.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: May 24, 2012

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