A statute of limitations is a statute, or law, that restricts the period of time, after certain events, that a person may initiate legal proceedings. These time limits vary depending on the type of case and the state where the particular cause of action occurred. After the time limit has passed, the injured person no longer has the right to sue to recovery money damages, unless a legal exception applies. The following provides a brief summary, in alphabetical order, of some of the limitations periods for the state of Washington for those actions related to personal injury, medical malpractice, and some products liability. Please contact a qualified Washington lawyer to find out how a statute of limitations applies to your situation.
Actions based on fraud must be filed within 3 years. This three year limitation period begins to run from the date the fraud was discovered.
These types of actions must be filed within 2 years from the date of the action.
All actions against medical professionals must be filed within 3 years of the date of the act resulting in the injury, or within 1 year of the date the injury was, or should have been, discovered, whichever is later. A suit may not be filed more than eight years after the date of the act resulting in the injury. If the parent is aware of an injury to a minor resulting from medical malpractice, that parent must file a medical malpractice claim within the general limitations period.
Personal injury actions must be filed within 3 years from the date of the injury.
Product liability actions must be filed within 3 years from the date of the injury, or within 3 years from the date the injury was, or reasonably should have been, discovered.
Wrongful death actions must be filed within 3 years of the date of death.
Special Rules Tolling the Statute of Limitations:
A statute of limitations is tolled when certain conditions are present. When a statute is tolled, the limitations period is essentially put on hold for a period of time. Some typical reasons that a statute is tolled include situations when the victim of the injury was a minor at the time of the injury (minority), when the victim of the injury was mentally incompetent at the time of the injury (mental incompetence), and when the defendant has filed bankruptcy.
In Washington, when the injured party is a minor the limitations period begins to run on that minor’s 18th birthday. This exception does not apply in medical malpractice or wrongful death cases, however. In those instances, please refer to the above information, or refer to the statute directly. If an injured party is deemed to be mentally incompetent or insane, the limitations period begins to run after the termination of the disability.