Statue of Limitations in WA State on Personal Injury Cases

Washington statue of limitations

The Statute of Limitations is a legal term that gets thrown around a lot. You hear this term in the press related to all sorts of cases, including both criminal and civil. You probably already know that it relates to some sort of time limits, but probably have more questions: How long are these limits? Are there different limits for different kinds of cases? How does it affect a case I might have? This guide will help you understand what a statute of limitations is, and how it applies to you and your future case(s).


A statute of limitations is basically a time limit that you have in order to bring a legal action against another party for some sort of harm you believe they committed. This time limit is set by each state government, so each state has different rules for different things.

The idea behind a statute of limitations is to force people to bring their claims within a “reasonable” time. This helps avoid claims that have been dormant for a long time which can result to lost evidence, faded memories, and unfair results.

Think of how hard it would be to defend a case from an occurrence that happened 30 years ago. This is exactly what a statute of limitations looks to avoid.

What Types of Cases Does it Apply to?

Statutes of limitations apply to all kinds of cases, including both criminal and civil. Many types of more serious criminal acts don’t have a statute of limitations at all. Murder and certain types of sexual assault cases have no limit on how long it can take before those that are accused can be charged. Our focus here is on civil cases, most notably personal injury. If you are injured in the state of Washington due some sort of accident, it is important to know that your clock starts right away. The first day that you are considered able to bring a lawsuit is the first day that your clock starts.

How Long do I Have to Sue?

In the state of Washington, you have three years to bring a personal injury claim against someone. For some situations your clock starts when your harm is discovered or should have been discovered; this typically happens in products liability cases where it takes a while to be affected (think asbestos, or some type of cancer caused by a product).

If you bring your case after your statute of limitations has run out, then you face an uphill battle to have your case heard. You may be able to get more time to bring your case, but it isn’t truly an extension, it’s more like a pause on the statute of limitations clock.

This pause is called “tolling.” Usually this occurs when there’s fraud or some other reason that would prevent you from being able to file a claim. It is important to speak to an attorney to know exactly when your clock starts, but more importantly, when it runs out.

What Should I Do First?

Here’s your best piece of free advice; DON’T WAIT! It is important to seek the advice of a top personal injury lawyer to understand if you even have a case to begin with, and how long you have to bring that case. The longer that you wait, the more difficult it can be to pursue your case effectively.

There are steps that you should be taking now in helping build your case so your attorney can help you get the maximum amount of money that you deserve.

Make sure you have any and all paperwork related to your accident. Gather any medical bills, police reports, and anything else that related to your accident in order to preserve your claim. Your first call should be to a lawyer, not to an insurance company.

Remember, insurance companies don’t exist to help you get as much money as you should, they exist to make their own money while minimally helping those who pay for their services. Personal injury lawyers, on the other hand, exist to help you get your maximum payout.

Sofia’s No Fee Guarantee

The best personal injury lawyers don’t charge you for an initial consultation. Attorney Sofia Miguel is no different. Her initial consultation is FREE and if your case is selected by Sofia, it will cost you nothing unless you win. Let Sofia’s nearly twenty years of experience in helping people recover for their personal injuries get to work for you now. If you have suffered a personal injury, attorney Sofia Miguel is standing by to answer your questions and help you fight to get the money you deserve. Call us at 253-200-4471, come visit our office right here in Puyallup at 702 S. Hill Park Dr. #207, or contact us online anytime. We are here for you.

Personal Injury Attorney Puyallup

Sofia K. Miguel, Attorney

Sofia K. Miguel has extensive litigation experience; she has tried or arbitrated hundreds of cases throughout Western Washington. She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2000 and has 17 years’ experience representing injured people. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and an EAGLE member of the Washington State Association for Justice.

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