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Almost every kind of legal claim has a time limit – a deadline after which you lose the right to sue. This deadline is called a Statute of Limitations. The purpose of a statute of limitations is to give a potential defendant certainty. If you could sue for a car accident 20 years after it happened, everyone who ever caused an accident would be living in fear, wondering if they were going to be sued.

However, the statute of limitations can have very harsh results on an injured plaintiff. Simply put, if you do not settle your claim and you do not file a lawsuit prior to the statute of limitation date, you lose your claim. Literally the insurance company might be offering you money one day and completely withdraw its offer the next, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Making things even more complicated, every state has different rules and laws regarding the statute of limitations. Even within a state there could be one time limit for injury claims and a different time limit for breach of contract claims. Different limits could apply to claims by children, claims against the government, and medical malpractice claims.

If you are trying to handle your claim by yourself (which I do not recommend) I strongly advise that you at least consult with an attorney regarding the statute of limitations that applies to your case. In addition to the statute of limitations, there could be other procedural hurdles you need to overcome before you can make your claim.

If you miss the statute of limitations or one of the many procedural limitations on claims in Washington or elsewhere, you could lose your claim forever. Don’t get burned by the statute of limitations. If you have a claim, or even if you think you might have a claim, call a lawyer today.