- April 26, 2023
- Strong Law
- Personal Injury
Personal injuries can seriously impact your life, and if you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. You may however have asked yourself: “How long do I have to sue for personal injury?
It is important to be aware of the time limits that apply to personal injury claims in Washington state. This blog post will provide an overview of the statutes of limitations for personal injury claims in Washington and what you should do if you have been injured.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Washington for Personal Injury Claims?
The statute of limitations is the time limit within which you must file a lawsuit in court. In Washington, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years from the date of the injury. This means that you have three years from the date of the accident or incident that caused your injury to file a lawsuit in court.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations applies to all types of personal injury claims, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims. If you do not file your lawsuit within the three-year time limit, your claim will be barred, and you will be unable to recover compensation for your injuries.
As mentioned earlier, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Washington is three years from the date of the injury or accident. This is stated in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Section 4.16.080.
It is important to note that this three-year timeframe applies to most personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and product liability cases. However, there are some exceptions, as discussed below.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
Certain exceptions to the statute of limitations may apply to your personal injury claim. The exceptions to the three-year timeframe are as follows:
When a minor is injured, the statute of limitations does not begin until the minor turns 18 years old. This means that a minor has until their 21st birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit. This exception is based on RCW Section 4.16.190.
The discovery rule applies when the injured party could not have reasonably discovered their injury until a later date. This often occurs in cases of medical malpractice, where a patient may not realize they were injured until months or even years after the malpractice occurred.
In such cases, the statute of limitations begins on the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered. The discovery rule is recognized in Washington under RCW Section 4.16.350.
When a personal injury claim is made against a government entity, such as a city or state, the time limit for filing a claim is much shorter.
The injured party must provide notice of the claim within 60 days of the incident and file a lawsuit within one year. This is based on RCW Section 4.96.010.
In cases of medical malpractice, the injured party must file a lawsuit within three years of the date of the malpractice or within one year of the date the injury was discovered, whichever is later. This is based on RCW Section 7.70.020.
It is thus of utmost importance to contact your personal injury lawyer if you are unsure if your claim meets these expectations. Contact us at Strong Law today to arrange your consultation.
Why You Should Not Wait to File Your Personal Injury Claim
Failing to file a personal injury lawsuit within the statute of limitations can have serious consequences. As mentioned earlier, the court will dismiss the case if it is filed after the expiration of the statute of limitations.
This means that the injured party will not be able to recover any damages, even if the other party was clearly at fault.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations is not just a suggestion, but a requirement established by law. The statute of limitation aims to ensure that claims are filed in a timely manner, allowing for a fair and just legal process.
The legal system recognizes that evidence becomes less reliable as time passes, and memories fade. By requiring lawsuits to be filed within a certain period, the legal system ensures that claims are resolved based on the best evidence and testimony available.
In Washington, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is established by RCW Section 4.16.080. This law provides that a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within three years from the date of the injury or accident.
As discussed earlier, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as the discovery rule and the exception for minors. However, these exceptions are limited and should not be relied on without first consulting an experienced personal injury attorney.
Waiting too long to file a lawsuit can harm the strength of your case. Evidence may become lost or destroyed, witnesses may forget important details and medical records may become outdated.
Additionally, the longer you wait to file a lawsuit, the more difficult it may become to find an attorney willing to take your case. Attorneys typically prefer to work on cases that are filed within the statute of limitations because they are more likely to be successful.
In summary, filing a personal injury lawsuit within the statute of limitations is crucial if you want to have the best chance of recovering damages for your injuries.
Failure to file within the statute of limitations can result in your case being dismissed and your right to compensation being lost. If you have been injured in Washington, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.
Consult with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and guide you through the claims process.
They can also help you determine if the statute of limitations has expired or if any exceptions apply to your case.
At Strong Law, we have the experience and resources to help you pursue your personal injury claim. Our attorneys have a proven track record of success in helping our clients recover the compensation they deserve. Contact us at 206-741-1053 today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.