Legal Timelines for Suing after an Accident in Washington State

Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2024 at 5:28 pm    

Legal Timelines For Suing After An Accident In Washington State Image

If you are injured in an accident in Washington, you may wonder how long after an accident can you sue. Because there are legal deadlines for injury lawsuits, you must contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident so they can get started on your case and file a lawsuit, if necessary, before the filing deadline expires. An attorney from The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can assist in all aspects of your personal injury case, including protecting your legal right to pursue compensation in court.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations sets the deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed. In Washington, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within three years of the accident that caused your injuries. Although this may seem like a long time, your attorney requires time to investigate the accident, obtain and review your medical records and bills, and seek a pre-suit settlement of your case. If the insurance companies refuse to settle for the fair and just compensation you are owed, your attorney will not hesitate to file a lawsuit. They must do so within the three-year timeframe, however.

The deadline for filing suit highlights the need to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. By retaining a lawyer from the start, they will keep track of all important deadlines, including the filing deadline. If you fail to file a lawsuit within three years of the accident date, you will likely be unable to pursue compensation in court.

What If the Accident Victim Is a Minor?

Under Washington law, two options exist for a minor filing a personal injury case. First, the child’s parent or guardian could file a claim on behalf of the minor. The three-year deadline would apply in this case. The other option is for the child to file a claim within three years after they turn 18.

Are There any other Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

Some circumstances warrant an extension (or “tolling”) of the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit. In addition to the case where the accident victim is under 18, the discovery rule may apply. The discovery rule may be triggered if the injuries suffered do not immediately exhibit themselves after the accident. If the injuries are discovered six months after the accident, for example, and you file the lawsuit three years and four months after the accident, the court may allow your case to proceed. It is best, however, to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney after an accident concerning the deadline to file suit so you do not inadvertently waive your opportunity to pursue the compensation you need in court.

What If the Trial Happens More Than Three Years after the Accident?

Your case may proceed if you filed the lawsuit before the three years expired. In other words, the issue is not whether the trial has ended and a judgment has been rendered. Instead, the critical deadline is filing the lawsuit before the deadline to file has passed. Often, lawsuits may be filed just before the filing time passes, so the trial does not occur until long after the deadline expires.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?

Legal Timelines For Suing After An Accident In Washington State Image 2

By contacting a personal injury attorney shortly after the accident, you will have a legal advocate on your side from the beginning. They will calculate the deadline to file a lawsuit and work hard to settle the case before filing a suit. To build your case, your attorney will:

  • Perform an Investigation – Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances of the accident or incident by speaking to witnesses, reviewing video surveillance footage, and analyzing accident or police reports.
  • Obtain Evidence – By hiring an attorney soon after the accident or incident that caused your injuries, your attorney can collect evidence that may not be available later. They will also request your medical and payroll records to understand the complete picture of your injuries and financial losses.
  • Negotiate with Insurance Companies – Your attorney can handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance companies involved in your case. You do not have to worry about phone calls and letters that can be confusing, especially when you are trying to heal from your injuries.

If the insurance company disputes their insured’s liability after you make a settlement demand, your attorney will file a lawsuit before the deadline set by the statute of limitations expires, protecting your right to seek compensation in court.

Contact a Lakewood Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you have questions about how long after an accident you can claim on an injury, contact the The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in a confidential consultation. The accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs will discuss your case and determine whether you have an actionable claim. We understand you may feel intimidated by the legal process and are here to help. Call (253) 588-6696 today to get started with your case.