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Washington Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

Statutes of limitations impose time limits for filing a lawsuit, which are intended to preserve the integrity of the evidence (both witnesses and physical evidence), while making sure the threat of a lawsuit is limited. Under Washington's civil statute of limitation laws, personal injury claims have a three-year limit for filing, as do fraud, injury to property, and trespassing. Debt collection has a six-year limit.

Statutes of limitations aren't suggestions. They are mandatory time limits that the state imposes on most lawsuits. If you do not bring your claim within the time limit, you may be permanently barred from recovering any compensation for your injuries.

This article provides a brief overview of the civil statute of limitations laws in Washington.

Washington Civil Statute of Limitations Laws: At a Glance

The basics of Washington's civil statutes of limitations are listed below, with links to related articles. See Time Limit Considerations in Medical Malpractice Claims to learn more.

Injury to Person

Three years (R.C.W. § 4.16.080)


Two years (R.C.W. § 4.16.100(1))


Three years (R.C.W. § 4.16.080(4))

Injury to Personal Property

Three years (R.C.W. § 4.16.080(2))

Professional Malpractice

Medical: Three years of the injury or one year upon discovery (max. eight years) (R.C.W. § 4.16.350(3))


Three years (R.C.W. § 4.16.080(1))

Collection of Rents

Six years (R.C.W. § 4.16.040(3))


Collection of Debt on Account

Six years (R.C.W. § 4.16.040(2))


10 years (R.C.W. § 4.16.020(2))

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Don't Miss a Filing Deadline: Get Help From a Washington Attorney

You've been injured and are thinking of filing a lawsuit. While this may seem like a daunting task, you don't have to go it alone. A great first step in making sure you are meeting the deadline to file in the state of Washington is to get help from a qualified attorney.

Before filing your first court documents, consult with an experienced Washington attorney near you.

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