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How Long Are Judgments Good For in Washington?

Colburn Law

An unexpected accident can have a major impact on your life, resulting in significant financial losses, physical pain, and emotional suffering. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for your accident.

At the conclusion of a successful personal injury lawsuit, a defendant will be required to pay a financial settlement and a judgment may be issued against his or her assets. Personal injury judgments last for a long time in Washington state, even if the defendant cannot pay the settlement right away.

What Compensation Is Available in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury occurs when a person suffers harm to his or her mind, body, or emotions. If someone else’s negligence causes a person to suffer a personal injury, the victim is entitled to file a lawsuit for financial compensation. 

The purpose of a personal injury claim is to reimburse the victim for the economic and non-economic damages that he or she suffered in the accident. Below are a few examples of compensation that could be claimed in a lawsuit:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Property damage
  • Chronic pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of quality of life

How Long Are Judgments Good For in Washington

Judgments Last for Several Years in Washington

The settlements and verdicts in personal injury cases can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands and even millions. Most people cannot afford to pay this much money out of pocket. In the event that a person cannot pay the plaintiff right away, a judgment may be issued against his or her property.

In Washington state, a judgment will remain in place for ten years. During this period, the plaintiff will essentially become a creditor who is entitled to claim certain pieces of property. Over time, the defendant could lose several of his or her assets, such as the following:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • A portion of his or her income
  • Rental or investment properties
  • Business property and equipment
  • Investment accounts
  • Inheritances from deceased family members
  • Cars, boats, trucks, and other vehicles
  • Collectible items, antiques, jewelry, and artwork

Do You Need an Attorney to Obtain a Personal Injury Judgment

Recovering compensation in a personal injury lawsuit can be a challenging process, even if your case seems relatively straightforward. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to hire a Seattle personal injury lawyer to support your case.

To win a personal injury case, you will need to provide sufficient and substantial evidence proving that the defendant caused your injury. The court will ask you to justify your damages with documents like medical bills, pay stubs, and repair invoices. If the defendant cannot pay a settlement right away, you may need to explore your options for judgment liens before you can start collecting compensation. 

Your attorney can handle all of these matters on your behalf so that you can focus on recovery, not litigation. He or she will conduct a full investigation into your accident, gather key evidence, and accurately calculate your potential settlement. As soon as possible following your accident, schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case and strategize your next steps.