I flew a PA-12 last summer that flew into a treeline 15 years ago. Pilot was looking at the ground crew and didn't notice the trees infront of him. I had no worries because I helped rebuild it the year before from the frame up
I checked NTSB reports and found that a PA18 I flew once was involved in THREE engine failures in a one year span (you'd think after the first two jugs let go, they'd look at the other two!) The damage couldn't have been to extensive as one of them was two weeks after the other (d'oh!)
I've flown a C152 that had a hard landing that caused extensive damage, but was returned to service. The accident was 20 years before I flew it, so any faulty repairs would have made themselves apparent by then.
Those are just the more memorable ones, I know there's more...
The fact is, you'll never really know what kind of damage history and aircraft has had (and when you're talking about 25+ year old training aircraft, there IS
damage history) unless you go through it's logbooks, and even then it's hit and miss (the mechanic might not say "aircraft involved in accident" more likely it would be something like "removed and replaced engine xxxxx with xxxx 0-timed factory overhaul, new prop, nose gear, wheel..."