After any type of auto accident in Washington, if you’re your vehicle has been damaged, or you have been injured, you may want to understand your legal options for getting compensated. It is recommended to consult with an experienced Seattle WA car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The attorney can help you determine whether or not you have a legitimate claim and help you file a lawsuit against the alleged offender.
Statute of limitations
Basically, a statute of limitation is a specific state law that sets a very strict time frame on your right to file a lawsuit. Remember, the statute of limitation doesn’t apply to a vehicle insurance claim. All insurance service providers, whether the other driver’s or yours, will require you to file a claim. Or at least notify the insurer about the crash that might trigger a claim immediately or within a reasonable period. Often, this means a few days or weeks.
In Washington State, the time frame for most car accident lawsuits is nearly the same as one that applies to most personal injury lawsuits. According to the Revised Code of Washington section 4.16.080, you should bring a lawsuit to a court within three years of the crash. This includes any auto accident personal injury claim filed by a pedestrian, driver, passenger or a cyclist after a car accident.
For vehicle damages and injury cases, the time limit clock starts ticking on the date of the auto accident. In case someone died in that crash, a wrongful death claim should be filed against the offender within three years. Note that the time limit clock for a wrongful death claim starts ticking from the time of death. This date could be different from the time the accident happened.
Sometimes, victims of auto accidents try to file personal injury lawsuits even after the applicable timeframe has passed. In this case, you can count on the person you are trying to sue to point out that discrepancy to the jury as part of a motion to dismiss your claim. The court will be more likely to grant the motion unless you prove that some exceptions apply to your case and that your time limits should be extended. Otherwise, that will be the end of your case.
Generally, it is recommended to know the statute of limitations associated with your case. Even if you are very confident that your claim can be resolved via coinsurance claim settlement process, try to leave yourself enough time to file a lawsuit in case the settlement process fails. Besides, handling your claim in time offers you more leverage during the settlement talks. In case you realize that you are running up against the claim filing deadline, it is time to talk to a reliable and experienced auto accident attorney.
Nearly all personal injury lawsuits are complicated. Even if you opt for the settlement process, you still need an attorney who can negotiate on your behalf for a good or reasonable compensation offer.