When to File a Personal Injury Claim in Washington State

If you’ve suffered an injury because of someone else’s reckless or careless behavior, you have the right to seek compensation. You must act quickly, though—Washington requires you to file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the date of the collision, or your claim will be dismissed.

When a collision is caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, the injured victim may be entitled to pursue and receive financial compensation. If you have been injured in a collision that someone else caused, you should discuss your legal options with an experienced personal injury attorney. While it’s important for you to focus on your physical recovery, it’s important to remember that, like most states, Washington has a statute of limitations in place—meaning that you must take legal action within a specific time frame, or you forfeit your right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. It’s helpful to take a look at how the statute of limitations affects the personal injury claims process so that you can make sure you take action before it’s too late.

Statute of Limitations For Personal Injury Lawsuits in Washington

Under Washington state law, victims must file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the date the collision occurred. It’s important to note that the entire matter needn’t be resolved within three years—you just have to make sure the relevant documents are filed with the court within the three-year timeframe. If you miss this deadline, then it’s highly likely that the other party will file a “motion to dismiss” the lawsuit. Once this action is taken, the court will almost certainly dismiss the case, leaving you with no option to pursue compensation.

Some Exceptions May Apply

Of course, there are always some exceptions to the hard-and-fast rules. In Washington, there are two major exceptions to the three-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, which essentially allows victims to “extend the clock” if certain conditions apply. For instance, if the victim is under the age of 18 or otherwise unable to comprehend their legal rights at the time of the collision, the victim may have three full years within which to file a personal injury lawsuit once they turn 18 or receive assistance to restore their mental competence.

Take Swift Action Whenever Possible

As you can see, it is worth it to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible to make sure that you take the necessary steps and successfully file the personal injury lawsuit within the three-year window. This can seem difficult at first, especially if your injuries are extensive and require a significant amount of rest and recovery. However, you can still contact an attorney from the comfort of your home—or from your hospital bed—and discuss your situation over the phone. From there, your attorney can handle the bulk of the work, such as gathering important documentation, contacting witnesses, and more. The quicker you take action, the more time you and your lawyer will have to prepare and file a strong personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney will work hard to ensure that you eventually obtain the compensation you are owed so that you can move on to enjoy a brighter future.


If you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to thoughtlessness or recklessness of someone else, reach out to Henderson Taylor Law Firm today at (360) 737-1478 to speak to a dedicated personal injury attorney who will strive to achieve a successful outcome on your behalf.