Personal injury lawsuits can provide compensation for victims of negligence and their families. For accident survivors or their immediate family members, it may be crucial to recover compensation to pay for damages that include medical bills, lost income and loss of future earning capacity.
Car accidents, dog bites, bicycle crashes, pedestrian accidents, wrongful death, third party work accidents and slip and fall accidents are common reasons why someone may want to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are requirements for bringing a case forward in Washington.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Washington?
Like other states, Washington has a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. You generally cannot file a lawsuit if you are beyond the statute of limitations. In most cases, Washington’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is three years.
There are exceptions where the statute of limitations is tolled from going into effect. For instance, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases does not begin until a person turns 18 years old. Certain disabilities may also allow a potential plaintiff to toll the statute of limitations.
You should speak with a Seattle personal injury attorney if you have questions about how this time limit could affect your ability to file a lawsuit. There are nuances to the rules that may apply to your potential case. We can help you determine if you are still inside the statute of limitations or if it could be tolled.
When Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Another Party?
You may need to demonstrate that another party’s negligence caused your injury or loss and resulting damages. Dog bites (only bites) are an exception to this rule. Another person or business may be negligent if they had a duty to care, failed to exercise a reasonably expected level of care and another party suffers harm (damages) as a result of this failure.
Washington has requirements for demonstrating negligence in a personal injury case. You will need to show the party you are suing owed you a duty of care, breached this duty, known or should have known you would suffer harm, and the breach of this duty caused you to incur damages.
As a very general definition of the term, a “duty to care” means the defendant (the person you are suing) owed you a duty to act or refrain from acting in a way that puts your safety at risk. Washington has a pure comparative negligence rule that could limit your compensation if you are partially at fault for an accident.
There are also specific rules for certain types of cases. Washington has a strict liability rule on dog bites, but not for other types of injuries caused by canines. This means dog owners are liable for bites if the victim did not provoke the animal and was on public property or legally on private property.
Finally, there are cases where a business may use a liability waiver to protect itself from lawsuits. However, there are exceptions where a waiver would not absolve a business of liability for damages. An attorney can help you determine whether a liability waiver could bar you from pursuing legal action.
You should speak to a Seattle personal injury attorney at our firm if you have more questions about how state laws could affect your ability to file a claim or lawsuit. We can review your situation and help you determine which options are available.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Against the Government in Washington
It may be possible to sue a state or local entity if a government employee caused your injuries. There is a different process involved with filing a claim against a government entity.
If your potential injury case involves a state, local or federal entity, then you should speak with a Washington personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Call Our Seattle Personal Injury Law Firm for More Information
Washington personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn can review your possible legal options during a free consultation. If you or a loved one suffered harm and believe a negligent or reckless party is responsible, then you may have legal options to hold that party accountable for your damages. To schedule a free consultation with our Seattle personal injury law firm, call (206) 588-4344 or use our case review form.