The statute of limitations is the time period allowed to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused your car accident. What is this deadline in Washington?

What is the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit in my car accident case?



Whenever you have a legal right to compensation, including when you suffered injuries in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, you want to understand the important laws that apply to your case. One of the most essential laws to understand is the statute of limitations. It governs the time period you have to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.

What Is the Statute of Limitations to Sue the Negligent Driver in an Auto Wreck Case?

The statute of limitations is the deadline you have to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver for compensation for your injuries. If you fail to file a complaint within this time period, you waive your right to do so. Any lawsuit filed after the statute of limitations expired would most likely be dismissed by the judge. In Washington, the statute of limitations to file your claim is:

  • Three years from the date of the accident for personal injuries
  • Three years from the date of the accident for property damages
  • Three years from the date of death—and not the date of the accident—if the victim of the crash died as a result of his injuries.

Why You Do Not Want to Wait Until the Statute of Limitations Is Set to Expire to Contact an Attorney

Although you have three years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit, you do not want to wait until this deadline is approaching to retain an experienced car accident attorney. This would be a bad strategy decision that could make it harder for you to receive what you deserve in your settlement. Here are a few ways that waiting to hire a lawyer could hurt your claim:

  • Witnesses that could support your claim could disappear or their memories could fade.
  • The negligent driver’s vehicle could be repaired before your attorney can have an expert inspect it.
  • Business surveillance tapes that may have recorded your accident could be taped over.
  • It becomes too late for your attorney or an accident reconstruction expert to view the accident scene and really discover any new facts because of the time that has elapsed.
  • You may make an inadvertent mistake that hurts your claim, such as talking to the insurance adjuster or posting about the accident on social media.
  • The negligent driver’s insurance company may dispute whether the crash caused your injuries or whether your injuries are really that serious since you waited so long to pursue your claim.

Even if you have waited to take action, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney who can advise you of your rights and pursue your claim for compensation. Call our office today to schedule your free confidential consultation with a member of our car accident legal team.