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A personal injury accident is one of the most terrifying and stressful life events. Physical injuries and mental issues are just the beginning of issues that will get in your way after an accident. It’s not all time to rest and recover though. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is a legal time limit that determines how long you have to file a lawsuit after an injury occurs. It’s important you plan for this because missing this deadline could prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve.

What is a Statute of Limitations in Washington?

Each state imposes a legal concept called a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations outlines the amount of time you have to report an event. These laws are designed to make sure that cases are brought to court in a timely manner to ensure integrity. In the case of personal injury, the statute of limitations dictates how long an injured party has to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for their personal injury. If the time period expires, the plaintiff relinquishes the right to bring legal action against the defendant.

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Washington 

The allotted time in a statute of limitations varies from state to state. In Washington state, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally three years from the date of the injury. This applies to a wide variety of personal injury cases including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and medical malpractice claims. If a lawsuit is not filed within this three-year window, the injured party gives up their right to pursue legal actions to recover damages. The countdown begins on the date of the injury and does not reset for any reason. 

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Washington

The three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims is strict and can not be reset, but it can be delayed. In cases where injuries or medical conditions are not immediately obvious, there is a rule that allows the statute of limitations to begin when an injury is discovered.

Some other exceptions that Seattle personal injury lawyers handle are:

  • Minors: If the injured party is under 18, the statute doesn’t begin until they turn legal age
  • Incapacitated people: In the case that the injured person is knocked out, the statute doesn’t begin until the person wakes up
  • Fraud or Deception: If the defendant has tried to hide their fault, the statute of limitations may be extended

These exceptions are complex and can significantly impact the timeline for filing a personal injury claim, underscoring the importance of consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.

How To Manage Your Claim in Washington

Things can get busy, and we may be forgetful at times. To effectively manage your personal injury claim, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • Keep Track of Time: Keeping a detailed record of all important dates related to the injury and legal action can get you more time if an exception is made and remind you of deadlines.
  • Stay Organized: As soon as possible after the injury, get any documents together including medical records, correspondence with insurance companies, and any legal paperwork.
  • Act Quickly: It’s understandable to be shaken up after a personal injury, but it’s important to look for legal advice and begin your claim ASAP to avoid missing critical deadlines. 

Understanding Washington’s personal injury statute of limitations is vital for ensuring your right to seek compensation for injuries. By acting promptly and seeking the assistance of a personal injury attorney, you can navigate the legal process effectively and protect your interests. 

By hao

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