What is the Statute of Limitations in Washington State?

A statute of limitations states how much time you, or the state, has to file charges or take legal action. For example, in the state of Washington, a criminal case like murder, has no statute of limitations so legal action can occur decades after it happens. When it comes to a civil case like personal injury, however, time is limited, so consulting a personal injury attorney as soon as a claim arises is a very good idea.

Why is there a statute of limitations on certain civil cases?

While it may seem frustrating to have a time limit on legal action for a personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is in place for several reasons. First, it helps keep the courts clear so that things move more quickly through the system. If there were no statute of limitations for every case, it would be impossible to keep up with the amount of cases. In this way, it helps to protect the people. Additionally, after a certain amount of time, it becomes more difficult to remember details or locate paperwork from insurance companies essential to making your case. Getting your case filed quickly makes it easier, but it also means getting reimbursement for damages sooner, so you can get your life back on track.

Statute of limitations in Washington State

Here’s a partial list of causes for a claim and the statute of limitations in Washington. To see the full list of the statute of limitations for Washington, click here.

Claim Statute of Limitations
Personal Injury 3 Years
Wrongful Death 3 Years
Fraud 3 Years
Assault and/or Battery 2 Years
Property Damage 3 Years
Libel 2 Years
Slander 2 Years
Medical Malpractice 3 Years


Of course every case is different, and this is only a partial list with broad definitions, so if you don’t see anything that seems to fit your situation or if you are considering bringing a civil suit, you should consult an attorney before taking any action.

What should I do if I’ve been injured and want to file a claim before the statute of limitations is up?

If you’ve been injured recently and you believe another party is negligent, whether you’ve experienced a slip and fall, have been injured in an car accident or car/pedestrian accident, or have suffered other damages, you should first contact a personal injury attorney. They can help you navigate through this confusing time, but taking the time to document your injuries and damages is essential to any claim. Additionally, don’t feel you need to give statements to anyone other than the police until you’ve spoken with your attorney.

How a personal injury attorney can help you.

Whether you’ve just been injured and want to speak to a lawyer, or you’re not sure if you’re approaching the statute of limitations on your claim, a personal injury attorney can help with your claim. A personal injury lawyer can not only help you in gathering the appropriate documentation and communicating with the other party and insurance companies, but can help you get the amount necessary to rebuild your life.

Personal injury experts in Southwest Washington

If you need help with your personal injury claim or need assistance to determine if you’ve exceeded the statute of limitations on your claim, contact Philbrook Law Office. Located in Vancouver, Washington, we specialize in personal injury, and have years of experience helping our clients get the amount they deserve after a traumatic incident. Don’t let time run out on your case. Contact us today.

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