What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Truck Accident Claim In Washington?

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Truck Accident Claim In Washington?Like all states, Washington places a time limit on how long after an accident or injury a case can come to court. These statutes of limitations serve to protect defendants from the long-term threat of lawsuits and also ensure that evidence is still available and eyewitness testimony remains reliable should the case go before a jury.

It’s important to know how the state’s statute of limitations impacts your accident claim, especially when it involves a complex commercial truck accident claim in Washington. Make sure to speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Everett for legal guidance if you were involved in a truck accident.

What Is Washington’s Statute of Limitations for Accident and Injury Cases?

Under Washington RCW 4.16.080, the state has a three-year statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits, including car and truck accident cases. However, it’s important to note the difference between filing a claim and filing a lawsuit. Most car and truck accident claims begin with the injury victim filing a claim against the insurance company of the party at fault for the accident with or without legal representation by an attorney. Often, this requires an investigation of all aspects of the accident and documented proof of liability and the victim’s damages like medical expenses and lost income sent to the insurance company through a demand package. About 95% of claims are settled through an out-of-court settlement agreement after negotiations with the insurance company. A skilled truck accident attorney negotiates for the largest possible settlement on behalf of their client.

It may take a substantial amount of time to investigate, negotiate, and sometimes attend meditation sessions between the victim, the defendant, and their insurers and attorneys before arriving at a settlement agreement. If the insurance company fails to offer an acceptable settlement amount or wrongfully denies the claim, the case must go to court for the injury victim to recover damages through a positive jury verdict. To go to court, the injury victim must file a lawsuit petition within three years from the date the accident occurred.

If a case exceeds Washington’s three-year statute of limitations, a court will dismiss it except under limited circumstances.

What Exceptions Apply to Washington’s Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Claims?

Most truck accidents occur due to driver error or negligence, so they fall under the state’s statute of limitations. However, if the investigation reveals that the accident occurred due to a defective truck part or tire, the state’s three-year time limit begins on the date of the discovery rather than on the accident date. If a defective part or system caused the accident, it becomes a defective product claim and the manufacturer has strict liability for damages to the victim.

Other exceptions also exist to the state’s statute of limitations. These include the following:

  • If an injury victim is incapacitated for a time after the accident they have three years from the date they regain their abilities
  • If the truck accident victim was under the age of 18 when their injuries occurred they have up to three years from their 18th birthday
  • If the victim discovers an injury later and the doctor diagnoses their symptoms as an injury from the accident, they have up to three years from the date of the discovery under the delayed discovery rule

If you have questions about how Washington’s statute of limitations on truck accident claims impacts your case, speak to a personal injury attorney in Everett about the details and timing of your accident and injuries. Call the Washington truck accident lawyers at Wells Trumbull for a free consultation.