Statutes of limitations are time limits that determine how long you have to file a lawsuit. The limit is intended to preserve the integrity of evidence.
The Washington Statute of Limitations states that personal injury claims must be filed within three years. The same limit applies to trespassing and fraud. For debt-collection, the limit is six years. If the plaintiff misses the time limit, the statute of limitations can be used as defense against them. The court will dismiss the case.
What Happens If You Miss the Deadline?
The statutes of limitations are a fixed rule and not a suggestion. The time limits imposed by Washington state are mandatory. If you miss the deadline, you will be unable to get compensation for your injuries.
What Are the Exceptions?
There may be a few exceptions to the time limits. Speak to your attorney and find out if your case may be exempted. The rules for medical malpractice and cases against public institutions may also be different. If you plan on suing the federal government, the ‘Federal Tort Claims Act provides special requirements.
The Time Limits on Lawsuits
The countdown to your time limit starts immediately when the claim arises. It is the moment when a plaintiff first had cause to sue the defendant. If, for example, you plan on suing someone for inflicting personal injury through assault, they have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit.
The details of statutes of limitations may change often. Different courts may have different interpretations of the same statutes. Some of them can make entire statutes or part of them inapplicable to certain cases. Your lawyer can help you interpret the details of the law and understand the time limits that apply to your specific situation.
If action is against the government, different rules may apply to you. Your lawyer will guide you through the specific procedures that apply to federal cases.
Basic Time Limits
- Three years for fraud
- Three years for personal injury
- Six years for rent collection
- Three years for trespass
- Two years for slander/libel
- Ten years for judgements
- Three years for personal property damage
In conclusion, the law can be complex. Even though the statutes of limitations are stated clearly, their implementation may vary depending on implementation.