Written by Stryder Wegener
Car accident lawsuits are one of the most common types of personal injury cases in the United States. In many situations, you can to settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover their medical expenses and other losses. Unfortunately, insurance companies are for-profit corporations that keep a close eye on their bottom line. As a result, insurers often refuse to settle for a reasonable amount. In these cases, filing a lawsuit is the only option for you to get the compensation you need. When this is the only option you have, you’re likely asking yourself a number of questions, including, “what is the car accident claim deadline in Washington?”
At Emerald City Law Group, we work with car accident victims to protect their rights, and we fight for them to get the compensation they deserve. Throughout the entire personal injury process, we provide dedicated, compassionate personal injury representation. If you’ve been injured and would like a free consultation with an experienced Seattle car accident lawyer, call us at (206) 973-0407, or contact us online.
The Deadline to File Car Accident Claims in Washington State
Washington does have a deadline to file a lawsuit arising from a car accident. This time period is referred to as the “statute of limitations.” Under Washington law, the statute of limitations for car accident claims is three years.
It’s important to note that the deadline is three years from the date of the accident, not when you discovered your injury or from the time the insurance company declined to settle your case. You should also be aware that the same deadline applies to any property damage caused by the accident.
Don’t Miss the Deadline
If you don’t file your lawsuit within three years of the accident, you will lose the ability to seek compensation for your damages. No matter the severity of your injuries, and regardless of how negligent the other driver was, you will not be able to proceed with your case. The statute of limitations will bar your car accident claim, and there will be very few options to otherwise fight for compensation.
There are, however, ways to extend this period. For example, if the party responsible for the accident is out-of-state, or if you were under 18 at the time of your accident, you may have a different time allotment. In those situations, it’s best to reach out to a Seattle personal injury attorney to learn more about your case.
You should also know that insurance companies are keenly aware of when the statute of limitations expires and how it works. As a result, they may use this against you by dragging out settlement discussions in an attempt to avoid paying anything on your claim.
What About Fatal Car Accidents?
It is especially important to understand how the statute of limitations works in the event that a loved one dies as a result of the car crash. In most wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations runs from the date of death, unless the death was caused by someone’s negligence. In situations where questionable conduct might be the cause of your loved one’s passing, the clock could start to run on the day you discovered you had a possible legal claim.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Car accident cases are challenging to navigate without the help of a skilled lawyer. A personal injury attorney with experience in car accident cases can help you quantify your losses, evaluate your options, and map out a strategy for proceeding. Your attorney can also handle all of the communication with the other parties, compile evidence, and prepare any necessary documents or paperwork.
Contact a Seattle Car Accident Lawyer for Help
Three years may seem like a long time, but when you’re trying to recover from car accident injuries, it goes by faster than you think. In addition, the longer you wait, the harder it may be to prove your claim. The other driver may move. Witnesses may be difficult to track down, and their memories can fade. Receipts, medical reports, and other documents that you need to prove your claim can get disappear. Waiting until the deadline is about to expire could jeopardize your ability to recover the compensation you deserve
At Emerald City Law Group, we know the law, we understand how insurance companies operate following a car accident, and we’re prepared to help you with your case. To learn more about your options moving forward, contact us today at (206) 973-0407.