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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12072
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I was involved in a road accident in Austria 19 years ago,

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I was involved in a road accident in Austria 19 years ago, no one was injured, now out of the blue 19 years later I have received a summons from an Austrian court to appear in person in april for the offence of negligent driving.
what will happen if I ignore this as, I am totally shocked and bewildered by this as I have never had any correspondence regarding this prior to today.
Thank you for your question.
You'll appreciate that experts on this site are experts under UK law. However, in Europe it is very unusual for a case of this vintage to reach court. It would usually be time barred. I did some research into this for you and my understanding of the law in Austria is that damages claims are timebarred after three years but I can't guarantee this and you should be sending the papers by email to a lawyer in Austria to help you.
In the meantime here is an extract from some of what I researched for you:
"As a general rule, claims are not enforceable once they become statute-barred. The statute of limitations will generally commence when a right could have been first exercised (Section 1478 ABGB - Civil Code). Austrian law distinguishes between a long and a short limitation period. The long limitation period is 30 years and applies whenever special provisions do not provide otherwise. The short limitation period is, as a rule, three years and applies, for example, to accounts receivable or to damage claims. The statute of limitations is not observed ex officio (Section 1501 ABGB), but must be pleaded. It cannot be waived in advance."
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