In Washington State, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury action is three years from the date of the injury. This means that if an individual is injured in an accident, they have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries.
Typically, if someone misses the statute of limitations deadline, they will have waived their right to compensation. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule where the statute of limitations may be extended or “tolled.” One example is when the injured person is under the age of 18 at the time of the accident. In this case, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the individual turns 18, giving them an additional three years to file a lawsuit.
Another exception is when the injured person is mentally incapacitated or unable to understand their legal rights. In this case, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the individual is able to understand their rights and file a lawsuit.
Additionally, in certain cases, a defendant may have fraudulently concealed their liability or responsibility for an injury, which can also toll the statute of limitations.
It is important to note that these exceptions are not automatic and must be proven in court. An individual who misses the statute of limitations deadline should consult with an attorney to determine if any exceptions apply to their case and if it may still be possible to file a lawsuit.
It is also important to note that even if an exception applies and the statute of limitations is tolled, an individual should still act as soon as possible to file their lawsuit. Delaying to file a lawsuit can result in difficulty in obtaining evidence and finding witnesses, both of which are important for a personal injury case.
Review Your Case With an Everett, WA Personal Injury Attorney
None of this is meant to suggest you can delay if you plan on filing a personal injury claim in Washington State. Although there are exceptions, if you don’t file your claim by the statute of limitations deadline, odds are good you won’t be able to receive compensation.
Other reasons to act fast include:
- Evidence Preservation: Acting quickly allows an individual to gather and preserve evidence that may be important to the case, such as witness statements, medical records, and photographs of the accident scene.
- Insurance Company Time Limits: Many insurance companies have strict time limits for submitting claims. Filing a claim promptly can ensure that it is processed and resolved in a timely manner.
- Memory Fading: The longer the time between the accident and the filing of the claim, the more likely it is that memories of the incident may fade, making it more difficult to prove the individual’s case.
- Rehabilitation: Filing a personal injury claim quickly can help the individual access the necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation they need to recover from their injuries.
That said, if you have missed the deadline, but the information here gives you reason to suspect you may still be able to file a claim or lawsuit, consider reviewing your case with an Everett personal injury attorney at Russell & Hill. We’ll gladly inform you of your legal options in these circumstances. Get started today by calling us at 800-529-0842.