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What Is the Statute of Limitations in a Slip and Fall Case?
Victims of slip and fall accidents have the right to pursue compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you believe that you qualify for this litigation, it is important to act quickly.
Washington law sets a deadline, known as the statute of limitations, for filing slip and fall accident claims. If you do not file your lawsuit before the deadline passes, the court will likely dismiss your case—preventing you from recovering compensation.
Washington’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits
In Washington, a slip and fall lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim filed in civil court. According to the Revised Code of Washington section 4.16.080, people must file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the injury.
If you are filing a claim against a property owner or another party responsible for your slip and fall, you will need to initiate your lawsuit within three years from the date of your accident. This three-year deadline also applies if you are filing a claim for property damage resulting from a slip and fall, rather than a personal injury.
In cases where someone dies due to a slip and fall accident, Washington’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims will apply. According to the Revised Code of Washington section 4.16.080 (2), the victim’s personal representative must file within three years from the date of his or her death.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
In most lawsuits, the court will dismiss a slip and fall lawsuit if the action is filed after the deadline passes. However, you could file a claim after the statute of limitations if your case meets certain criteria.
- If you were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations will not begin running until you turn 18. You will have three years to file your claim from the date you turn 18.
- The court will also extend your filing deadline if you were incompetent or disabled and unable to understand the nature of a personal injury lawsuit at the time of the accident. You will have three years from the date that your competence is restored to file your lawsuit.
- If the defendant responsible for your accident leaves the state of Washington or takes steps to conceal himself or herself, the court will extend your filing window. The period of the defendant’s absence or concealment will not count against the statute of limitations.
Are You Eligible for a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
For most people, the clock for filing a slip and fall claim starts as soon as the accident happens. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident and believe that someone else’s negligence is responsible, speak to a Washington personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
An attorney can carefully evaluate your situation and see whether you qualify for a lawsuit. In these cases, another party’s actions must have breached a certain duty of care and caused your accident and resulting injuries. Usually, a property owner is a liable party, but a government agency or company could also be responsible.
As soon as possible after your accident, seek medical attention and save all records related to your accident. Then, contact a Washington slip and fall accident attorney to discuss your next steps.