When filing a personal injury claim, there are many factors at play. One important factor that affects your claim is time. If you bring forth charges too late, your case may be dismissed. This is why understanding how the Washington State statute of limitations for personal injury claims applies to your situation is essential.
Discover the facts on the Washington statute of limitations personal injury below.
Making a Personal Injury Claim in Washington State
When you or a loved one are hurt by another’s negligence, one legal course of action is to file a personal injury lawsuit. This allows you to pursue justice and recover compensation to aid in the healing process.
From car accidents to workplace injuries to wrongful death, there are many different types of personal injury cases addressed in Washington State Law. While these cases are each unique, the majority of them are subject to the Washington statute of limitations for personal injury cases.
The statute of limitations lays out a clear time limit for a victim to pursue legal action after an incident occurs. Read on to learn what this looks like in Washington State.
Washington State Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
As the Revised Code of Washington makes clear, victims have a set time frame in which they must bring charges against the individual or party responsible for their injuries. Section 4.16.080 of the RCW states that the following actions fall under a three-year limit:
“An action for taking, detaining, or injuring personal property, including an action for the specific recovery thereof, or for any other injury to the person or rights of another not hereinafter enumerated.”
In other words, victims of another person’s negligence or purposeful harm don’t have an unlimited window of opportunity to level charges. Rather, the clock starts ticking on the day of the incident and runs out three years after this date.
While three years may sound like a long time, bringing formal charges against the responsible party takes time. Often, the first thing on the mind of the victim is recovering from injuries. Then, they decide to take legal action and find a skilled personal injury attorney. At this point, much of the time has passed. This is why moving quickly with a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney is key for the best possible outcome.
Exceptions to the Three Year Rule
There are certain circumstances in which the aforementioned three-year rule does not apply.
One type of personal injury case involves medical malpractice. When a patient experiences injuries due to negligence on the part of a doctor or medical professional, they have the right to level charges. In some situations, the patient will not experience the negative effects of the malpractice right away. So, the law allows for patients to file suit within one year of the date of discovery.
This is summed up in Section 4.16.340 of The Revised Code of Washington, which states that a patient can bring charges:
“within three years of the act or omission alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or one year of the time the patient or his or her representative discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by said act or omission, whichever period expires later…”
Not all actions are subject to the Washington statute of limitations for personal injury. Criminal offenses can be prosecuted. There are a number of crimes that fall under this category, and the serious nature of these offenses allows victims to pursue justice long after the three-year mark. Contact a knowledgeable attorney to learn about the various criminal law statutes of limitation.
Certain crimes fall under a six-year limit. Washington State statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Some of these crimes include:
- Money laundering felonies (RCW 9A.83)
- Identity-related felonies (RCW 9.35)
- Theft in the first or second degree under chapter RCW 9A.56 when accomplished by color or aid of deception;
- Theft from a vulnerable adult (under RCW 9A.56.40)
The list above is not an exhaustive compilation of the exceptions to the Washington State statute of limitations for personal injury claims. It’s best to discuss your case with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to understand the time limits in place for your unique situation.
Don’t Wait to File Your Claim. Let Will & Will, Pllc Help Today!
The longer you wait to take action, the harder it becomes to seek justice and maximize your settlement amount. The sooner you start, the sooner your attorney can begin collecting evidence, contacting the appropriate individuals, and building a solid case. The time to act is now.
Contact the experienced and compassionate attorney team at Will & Will today to learn how we can help.