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What Is the Statute of Limitations in Washington?

The statute of limitations sets the maximum length of time an accident victim has to file a lawsuit. This is an absolutely critical deadline for accident victims. If you go over it, then you’ll lose the ability to sue. Furthermore, few insurers will offer a fair settlement because they know you can’t go into court and file a lawsuit if you are unhappy with the amount they offer. Thus, there is a very real chance you might end up with no money at all.

If you are worried about the deadline, call Khan Law Firm today to speak with a personal injury attorney. We can review the facts and get a lawsuit filed immediately, if necessary.

The Statute of Limitations is Three Years

Section 4.16.080 of the Revised Washington Code creates a three-year statute of limitations for most accident cases:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Wrongful death

Imagine you get into a car accident on June 1, 2020, and break your arm and leg. Because you have three years, you must file your lawsuit for compensation before June 1, 2023.

The clock usually starts running on the day you were injured. If a loved one died, then the clock usually starts from the date of death, which makes calculating the deadline easy.

There Are Severe Consequences for Being Late

Three years might sound like more than enough time to get your evidence collected and a lawsuit filed. However, time can fly, especially if you are rehabbing very serious injuries. Someone with a concussion might be unable to think clearly for months.

You might also negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party before filing a lawsuit. As the years roll by, you must remain vigilant about not going past the statutory deadline.

What happens if you do? Sadly, a judge will dismiss your case if the defendant asks. You won’t be able to hold this defendant accountable in court, and you might end up with zero compensation from anyone.

Don’t Count on the Exceptions

There are some narrow exceptions to the three-year deadline. For example, if a minor was injured, then a lawsuit must be filed before the minor’s 21st birthday. Nonetheless, there are benefits to filing now, even for children. Specifically, you will have access to more evidence than you will after the passage of more than three years. Your child’s injuries might also be fresh and make more of an impact on an insurance adjuster right now.

We highly recommend that you don’t plan on an exception applying to your case. Instead, meet with an attorney immediately to check about protecting your rights.

How Khan Law Firm Can Help You

We know how to get lawsuits filed in a timely manner in the correct court. The fact is you can’t just sue in any courtroom. We will investigate the accident and the defendant and file where it is appropriate to do so. For help with your case, contact us today.