Understanding Washington State’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
Being injured in an accident is tragic and, in some cases, can be completely life-altering. You’ll need time to heal or to adjust to an injury that has forever changed your life. This is an unfortunate reality for many who have been injured due to someone’s negligence.
Time is also a factor when it comes to filing a personal injury case. If you wait too long to speak with an attorney who will then, in turn, file your lawsuit, your case, no matter how strong, could be denied. Washington State residents who’ve been injured should contact a Kent personal injury lawyer at Herschensohn Law to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
Washington Personal Injury Lawsuits
In its simplest definition, a statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time that can pass from the time an incident occurred and the time a legal action can be initiated. Different states have different statutes of limitations for criminal and civil cases. Some have no statute of limitations at all. However, this isn’t true for personal injury lawsuits.
This could be a car accident, medical malpractice issue, or even injuries you sustained while someone was committing a crime. The burden of proof is yours, so working with an experienced personal injury law firm is paramount.
However, the clock is ticking, so you’ll want to file your case as quickly as possible due to Washington’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases.
Washington State’s Statute of Limitations
In its simplest definition, a statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time that can pass from the time an incident occurred and the time a legal action can be initiated. Different states have different statutes of limitations for criminal and civil cases. Some have no statute of limitations at all.
The Revised Code of Washington states that charges must be made against an individual or entity within 3 years of the incident that resulted in injuries and damages. This means that a lawsuit must be filed with the courts within 1094 days after the event which caused injuries. Three years may seem like a large window of time, but if you’re solely working on your medical recovery and not also working with a legal team, that time can go by quickly.
Before a lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit, they must gather as much evidence as possible. This not only includes requesting police reports and medical records but could also entail interviewing witnesses and obtaining expert medical testimonies. This stage can take time, emphasizing how critical it is to get the ball rolling as early as possible.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
Although Washington State’s statute of limitations is firm and clear on a lawsuit needing to be filed within 3 years of the accident or incident, there are a few rare exceptions. There are two distinct situations where a personal injury lawsuit can be filed after the statute of limitations has expired.
One of the exceptions to the statute of limitations was when injuries were sustained due to medical malpractice, one of the most common types of personal injuries. It’s possible that an injury may not immediately make itself known due to a doctor or a healthcare professional’s neglect. In cases where a medical malpractice injury was discovered sometime after the procedure or hospital stay, the patient can file charges within the 3-year window or 1 year after the medical injury is discovered.
For those who have been injured while someone was committing a crime, the window of time in which they can file a personal injury lawsuit isn’t restrained to 3 years. If the perpetrator of the crime is brought to justice years later, you’ll have the right to file a lawsuit against them no matter how much time has passed. The laws regarding the statute of limitations for personal injury cases can vary depending on the type of crime. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know to understand the differences.
Don’t Hesitate to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The longer you wait to file a personal injury lawsuit in Washington, the more difficult it could be to win your case. For your case to succeed, your lawyer will need adequate time to gather all the evidence required to file it with the courts. When under the burden of time, a law firm may be unable to do the best job to get you the compensation you deserve for your damages.