Personal Injury Information in Washington State

If you are involved in an accident and suffer a personal injury in the state of Washington, you will probably want to start a personal injury claim. You can do so through the insurance company or with a lawsuit in court. However, it’s important to know about the state’s personal injury laws so that you can go about things the right way.

Statute of Limitations

In Washington, just like in other states, there is a statute of limitations in place. That means there’s a time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the court. You have three years starting from the time the accident and your subsequent injury occurred. If you don’t file your lawsuit within that time frame, your case will be dismissed and not heard by the court.

Comparative Fault Rules

Sometimes, when a person suffers an injury due to an accident, they are at least partially to blame for their injuries. That means that if that applies in your situation, you will not get the full amount of compensation from your personal injury claim. Washington uses something known as the “pure comparative negligence” approach. It means that the amount of money you are seeking for compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault for the incident.

In other words, if you are claiming $10,000 in compensation for your injuries but are found to be 10 percent at fault for the accident, your total compensation will be reduced by that percentage and you will receive $9,000 in damages.

Strict Liability for Dog Bite and Dog Attack Cases

Some states have protections for dog owners to a certain extent, particularly for the first time their dog bites or attacks someone and it results in injury. This is commonly known as the “one bite rule.” However, in the state of Washington, there is a statute in place that makes a dog owner strictly reliable. That means that regardless of whether or not your dog has ever bitten or attacked someone, you are automatically responsible for an injury stemming from a bite or attack by your pet.

No Damage Caps in Washington Injury Cases

In some states, there is a cap on the financial amount of compensation a person can be awarded in personal injury cases. However, Washington doesn’t have this limitation, which means that there is no monetary limit to the amount you can claim.

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Government Entity Liabilities

If your personal injury claim is a local or state government employee or entity, there is a special set of rules as well as limitations. You have to file a formal claim with the state or municipality within three years. After filing the claim, you must wait 60 days before you can file a lawsuit.