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Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations

Understanding the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Washington State

Why waiting to file an action is not in your best interest

The principle behind a statute of limitations is to encourage parties with disputes to resolve them in a timely manner. The law is designed to give plaintiffs enough time to:

  • Discover that they have been injured
  • Ascertain the extent of their injuries
  • Be reasonably sure about who might be liable for those injuries

But, the law sets a time limit to protect defendants from the burden of living under a constant threat of a lawsuit brought at an opportune moment for the plaintiff, such as when a key defense witness becomes unavailable. The law also seeks to relieve courts of the burden of adjudicating old grudges or generational feuds long after memories of the events in question have faded. Therefore, the law places a limit on the amount of time a plaintiff has to bring a lawsuit. If the plaintiff does not file within the time allotted, the plaintiff forfeits forever the right to sue.

What is the statute of limitations in Washington for personal injury?

A statute of limitations is state law; throughout the country, different states set different time limits for identical causes of action. Within each state, different causes of action have different time limits. In Washington, for personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations is three years.

Individuals may find they have more than three years from the time of the injury causing event, because:

  • At the time of the event, the injury was not apparent. Surgical malpractice or dangerous drug side effects may cause injuries that do not become obvious until years later.
  • For a period of time after the injury event, the victim was incapacitated. When an injured party is incapacitated because of an injury, that period of time is not counted toward the time limit.

The statute of limitations is not an excuse to procrastinate

Waiting until the last minute is a poor habit in life, and it can be disastrous for your personal injury action. The sooner you retain an attorney, the sooner you have an experienced, qualified professional working to assemble the evidence you need to prevail. You may hope that you can settle your injury claim without filing a lawsuit, but retaining a personal injury lawyer and filing sends a strong message to the opposition that you intend to assert your rights. Often, the threat of a lawsuit is the only thing that gets an opposing party to the negotiating table. Delays in asserting your rights mean a longer wait for compensation, while your medical bills eat away at your family savings. Taking a passive approach, you can expect to be passed over. When you retain Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P., you get aggressive representation that moves your case forward.

The clock is ticking; contact Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. today!

There’s truth to the old legal adage that he who sits on his rights loses them. Act today to assert your right to full, fair compensation for your injuries. Call Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. at 253.250.4516 or contact our Tacoma office online to arrange your free consultation.

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Case Results
  • "Client was disabled from working in prior profession after sustaining a severe closed head injury and brain trauma in an automobile accident on Interstate 5. $7,845,000. "

  • "Pedestrian client was struck by semi-truck, and the trailer wheels rolled over client’s body causing severe injury. $1,145,000. "

  • "Client was involved in a head-on collision when a bus crossed the center line. Client suffered a severe closed head injury preventing him from returning to his previous employment. $884,998. "

  • "Client was involved in serious head-on collision with uninsured motorist while on-the-job, resulting in physical injury and posttraumatic stress disorder. Client can no longer work as a commercial truck driver. $708,000. "

  • "Client was a rear seat passenger in a vehicle that was involved in an automobile accident. Client was severely injured as the result of a defective seatbelt, while the other three occupants of the vehicle sustained only minor injuries. $650,000. "

  • "Client was killed in automobile accident caused by defendant’s failure to yield the right-of-way. $650,000. "

  • "Minor client was on his way to school and was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. Defendant driver had pulled into oncoming lane to pass another vehicle and struck client, causing serious injuries. $500,000. "

  • "Client was killed as a result of an in-cab fuel tank, which caught fire after an automobile accident. $350,000. "

  • "Client riding a bicycle was struck by a motorist who failed to yield the right-of-way. Client sustained numerous injuries, including a closed head injury. $120,000. "

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  • "“I have been a client of Dan Kyler’s since 1996. Having had numerous car accidents, I rely upon Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler to help me through them. The most obscure questions have been answered and help is given on all levels. Thanks.”"

  • "“John Wilson demonstrated his professionalism by keeping us current on our case, explaining our options, giving us realistic expectations and demonstrating the highest level of ethics and integrity beyond reproach. We have the highest confidence that we were well represented.”"

  • "“Dan Hannula’s hard work helped to settle my auto accident case.” "

  • "“Having a motorcycle accident was bad enough, let alone dealing with insurance companies. John Wilson and his staff made everything easy to understand and hassle free.” "

  • "“I am extremely satisfied with the service I experienced with this firm and I would recommend them to anyone that needs legal representation. Michael Fisher and his staff are great people.” "

  • "“Vern Harkins perseverance and hard work made it possible to get the maximum settlement from the insurance company. I know he had my interest in mind as demonstrated by his actions.” "

  • "“The office staff were courteous, pleasant and kept me informed as to what was going on throughout the whole ordeal.” "

  • "“Molly Crowley is a very professional and knowledgeable lawyer. I felt I was very well represented!!” "

  • "“Molly Crowley was knowledgeable, kept me informed every step of the way and just did a great job!” "

  • "We got a fair settlement and were treated with respect and dignity throughout the whole process. -Blake W. "

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