Filing any kind of lawsuit is always a big undertaking. But while you may feel like you will need a lot of time to think about your situation and consider different options, it’s important to know that you actually may not have as much time as you think!
Many cases, both criminal and civil, are affected by something called a statute of limitations. If you’ve suffered some kind of injury that has pushed you to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, then a statute of limitations applies to your situation.
What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations is essentially how long you have to file a lawsuit against another party for some kind of harm that has allegedly been committed. In short, it is a time limit. The reason for this time limit is to keep people from coming forward with claims that have happened too long ago and may be affected by faded memories, a loss of evidence, or other issues.
Many serious criminal cases have no statute of limitations. Murder and some sexual assault cases, for example, can be brought forward no matter how much time has passed. Civil cases, though, including personal injury, often do have a time limit.
The statute of limitations for various cases is determined by each state.
What is the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in Washington?
In the state of Washington, a party has three years to file a personal injury lawsuit, after which their statute of limitation runs out.
The tricky part is determining exactly when the clock starts running. In many cases, the time starts running when the harm is discovered. Sometimes, you may be able to pause the clock if some kind of fraud occurred that has prevented you from filing your claim.
Ultimately, though, the best course of action is to consult with a personal injury attorney to get a clear understanding of your situation. More importantly, it is imperative that you get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible! The longer you wait, the closer you get to the end of your statute of limitations, after which it can be immensely difficult to have your case heard.
Discussing your personal injury situation with an attorney is critical to understanding whether you have a strong case and how long you have to bring it forward. To get in touch with expert Seattle personal injury lawyers at Gosanko, O’Halloran, Lepore PLLC, give us a call at 206-275-0700.