Legal Insights & Articles

What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Washington State?

If you suffer an injury due to the negligent or reckless actions of someone else, you have the legal right to seek compensation that can go towards paying down the costs incurred by your injury. For instance, if you were injured in a car accident and you were unable to work for a few months, the damages you recover can help to pay the medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with your injury. However, you only have a limited amount of time—known as the “statute of limitations”— in which to file a personal injury claim; once that period ends, you forfeit your right to collect compensation. Here’s what you need to know about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Washington state and what steps to take to get started.

Three-Year Statute of Limitations for Washington Personal Injury Claims

The Revised Code of Washington section 4.1.6.080 allows a party to file a personal injury claim within three years of the incident. This means that the clock begins on the date of the accident, so it’s a good idea to start building a claim as soon as you are physically able to do so. Whether you were a victim of a car, truck, motorcycle, bike, or pedestrian accident, you have the option to pursue compensation from the party responsible for your injuries. Victims of slip and fall accidents, dog bites, or defective products are also allowed to file personal injury claims to recover compensation but must do so within three years of the incident.

Exceptions to the Three-Year Statute of Limitations

In certain cases, a victim may not become aware of their injury until much later. For instance, in instances where medical malpractice is involved, a patient may feel fine after a routine surgery. However, after several years have passed, strange symptoms may develop, ultimately revealing that a surgical tool was left behind, or the surgery was incomplete or damaging to the body. In such cases, the statute of limitations is typically extended for one year from the date when the victim was made aware of their injury or condition.

What About Injuries in Children?

When a child is the victim of a personal injury accident, the statute of limitations typically begins running when the child turns 18. This gives them until the age of 21 to file a personal injury claim. For example, a child who experienced permanent nerve damage as the result of a car accident may decide to seek compensation once he turned 18, and he would have three years during which to take legal action.

If you have suffered an injury in the Vancouver or greater Clark County area and you need help collecting compensation, the experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys at Henderson Taylor Law Firm are here for you. Call (360) 737-1478 today to get started.