Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in Washington State

In Washington, the statue of limitations for filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party is stipulated by Title 4, Ch. 16, Section 4.16.080 of the Revised Code of Washington, which sets the statue of limitations at three years. That means you must settle your personal injury claim or file a lawsuit within three years.

However, whether you fall within or out of that three year time period, you should still talk to an attorney. That’s because you want to avoid further delay and also because your case may consist of special circumstances which will permit you to file beyond the three-year period.

Do I file a claim or a personal Injury lawsuit?

In Washington, you can file an insurance claim based on fault in the accident. You can file this claim with your insurance and/or the at-fault driver’s insurance if you were in a motor vehicle accident. You can also file a lawsuit against the at-fault party if you fail to reach an adequate settlement.

A claim or lawsuit can help you gather compensation for:

  • medical bills;
  • pain and suffering;
  • past and possibly future lost wages;
  • disfigurement; and
  • disability.


In addition to establishing that the other party was at fault for your injuries, your own fault will also weigh on your recovery. Your percentage of fault is deducted from your compensation. This is called comparative negligence, and it mandates all Washington personal injury cases.

For example, if you were speeding when a drunk driver hit you and speeding is determined to cause twenty-five percent of your accident and injuries, then your compensation will be reduced by twenty-five percent. So if you suffered $50,000 in damages, you would recover only $37,500.

But don’t let your possible partial fault prevent you from seeking legal representation for your personal injury case.

How long does it take to resolve a personal injury lawsuit?

There’s no exact answer to this question. Depending on the parameters of your personal injury case – including but not limited to the number of people involved and the extent of the injuries – it can take anywhere from mere weeks to a number of years to resolve.

Generally speaking, the sooner you file, the better it is for you. That’s because many cases contain a great amount of detail and facts that need to be researched and confirmed, and testimony that needs to be gathered then reviewed. Keep in mind that the sooner you file a lawsuit, the fresher your witness testimony and evidence, too. Time tends to corrode details.

But remember, you must settle your claim within the three years or file your lawsuit within that time period.

What’s the first step?

Your first step to taking legal action after a serious injury is contacting and consulting with a lawyer. Attorney Max Meyers can talk to you about filing a personal injury case and/or the reason for your delay in a free initial consultation. Call us at  425-399-7000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation about your case.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.