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When to Sue for Personal Injury in Washington State?

Law can be very confusing, particularly if you have never been involved in a legal action. If you have been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, a workplace incident, or by a defective product it is difficult to know what steps to take. The Van Law Firm can help you determine if a lawsuit is the best action in your situation.

Probably your most difficult decision is figuring out if you can or if you should sue another person for your personal injury. First, a person needs to suffer an actual physical injury to his or her person in order to be able to sue. In most cases, emotional injuries alone such as embarrassment or anxiety are not sufficient to justify suing another person. However, emotional injuries on top of physical injuries may be eligible for greater compensation than physical injuries alone.

A personal injury, at its most basic, is an injury to you that is caused by another person. For more information on personal injuries in Washington State, check out here.

What is the statute of limitations?

When determining if a lawsuit is appropriate, you will need to determine if the statute of limitations for filing a suit has expired. The statute of limitations is the time period that the state allows by law for a person who has suffered an injury to bring a lawsuit. Depending on the type of injury that a person has suffered, the statute of limitations may vary.

In general, in Washington, a person who suffers a regular personal injury will have 3 years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Examples of regular personal injury cases would be a car accident where someone rear ends you or when you slip and fall at a casino because the floor was wet and there were no warning signs posted. In these types of cases, your body is injured and the at fault party (the other driver of the casino) owes you compensation.

Some personal injury claims, like those involving contracts, such as claims through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policy, Personal Injury Policy (PIP) or Medpay can have a longer statute of limitations. In Washington, a claim based on a written contract will have 6 years from the date of the injury to be filed.

When does the statute of limitations start?

The statute of limitations in a personal injury case normally starts on the date that the person is injured.

One exception to this rule happens when the injury is caused by a doctor or other medical professional (such as in a medical malpractice claim) and the injury is not discovered until some time after it occurs. In these cases, Washington allows a person to bring a lawsuit 1 year after he discovers that he has been injured.

What happens if I miss the statute of limitations?

A person must file a lawsuit during the allowed time frame. If the lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations expires, you may lose your chance to ever receive any compensation for your injuries.

Because the statute of limitations can be confusing, we always recommend that you call our experienced attorneys at Van Law Firm for a FREE case evaluation. We will be able to assist you in filing a lawsuit within the statute of limitations so that you don’t miss the opportunity to get the compensation that you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation: (725) 900-9000.