If you live in Washington state and are pursuing an injury claim, this post will answer some of your questions about the process and the state laws that will affect your claim.
Statute of Limitations – The statute of limitations in Washington to commence a lawsuit is 3 (three) years from the date of your accident or injury. It is critical that you bring your claim within the time limit or you will be permanently barred from recovering any compensation.
Comparative Fault – In certain cases, an injured person may also be partially responsible for the accident under what is known in Washington, a “pure comparative negligence” doctrine. In this case, the injured person will share certain percentage of the fault, i.e. any amount that you recover will be reduced by the amount (percentage) of fault that is attributed to you by court. Additionally, it is also possible that an insurance adjuster will raise the issue of shared fault while you are settling your case in an out of court settlement negotiations.
Strict Liability for Dog Attack cases – Generally, dog owners are protected to certain degree from liability the first time the dog injures someone, but only in case if the owner had no knowledge of the dangerous propensity of his/her dog. It is called “one bite” rule.
However in Washington, Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 16.08.040 makes the owner “strictly liable”, which means that regardless of the animal’s past behavior, the owner is responsible for the injury. Also, Washington state law allows municipalities to enact ordinances in order to prohibit dog’s running at large and to provide for the killing of all dogs found at large and not duly licensed by sheriff or deputy sheriff. (RCWA 35.27.370).
There is no damage cap on the amount of compensation you can be awarded under Washington state laws. Finally, in case if your claim is against local or state government employee or entity, you must file formal notice of claim with that agency within 3 years from the date of your injury. After notifying the entity, you cannot file a lawsuit until 60 days after the date of notice of claim.
Please remember, when you are injured in an accident, you should take legal action right away. If you do not, you may lose your ability to pursue the matter. Consult with personal injury attorney.
If you would like to get more information, please feel free to contact us at 206-838-8118.