What Are the Deadlines for Filing Personal Injury Cases?
Statutes of limitations set deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits. Statutes of limitations are intended to prevent cases from coming to court long after evidence has disappeared and witnesses’ memories have faded.
A chapter of the Revised Code of Washington establishes the statutes of limitations for various personal injury lawsuits:
- Personal injury. You must bring suit within three years of the date of the negligent act that caused the injury.
- Medical malpractice. Injury victims must bring medical malpractice lawsuits within three years of the date of the act of malpractice or within one year of when the victim discovered or should have discovered the negligent act. Regardless of when the injury manifests, you must bring a malpractice action no later than eight years after the negligent act. There is an exception for cases in the victim prevented from filing the claim earlier because of fraud or intentional concealment by the medical professional. There also is an exception for cases in which the cause of your injury was a foreign object that the doctor left in your body.
- Wrongful death. You have three years from the date of the negligent act that caused the death.
Consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury so your case doesn’t run up against the statute of limitations. Also, your attorneys can build a stronger case if their investigation begins soon after the accident.