How Long After a Car Crash do I Have to Settle a Claim?

Posted by Bradley Thayer | Feb 16, 2015 | 0 Comments

What is a “Statute of Limitation”

Following an event such as a car accident, the amount of time a victim has to file a claim for injuries or damages suffered is referred to as the statue of limitations. Unless the case is settled, or otherwise resolved within the time allowed by the statute, then a formal complaint must be filed with the court or the victim may be forever barred from ever pursuing the claim in the future.

These time restrictions are strictly enforced in almost every situation and may require detailed legal analysis and foresight to prevent losing an otherwise valid claim. The worst thing a victim can do is to wait until a few months (or even weeks or days) before the statute of limitations expires to contact an attorney–it may already be too late.

What is the Statute of Limitation in Washington and Oregon?

Car crashes in Washington most likely fall under the negligence statute of limitations which is three years from the date of the crash. RCW 4.16.080(2). Car crashes in Oregon also fall under the negligence statute of limitations which is two years from the date of discovery but under no circumstances later than 10 years after the date of the crash. ORS 12.110; ORS 12.115(1). The situations which allow for extension beyond two years are relatively specific and unless the injury is to a minor or insane person, for all practical purposes–in Oregon auto collision personal injury cases–the statute of limitations expires two years from the date of the collision.

If the victim was killed, the statute may be extended to three years. ORS 30.020(1). Under certain circumstances, such as when the victim is under 18, when the victim has a disability, or when the party at fault is a governmental entity, the statute of limitations may be shortened or extended. For this reason, it is critically important that you consult with an attorney soon after you know you have been injured. Otherwise, you risk losing the ability to bring your claim.

As personal injury attorneys, we specialize in car and traffic accidents. If you have been involved in an auto accident and need to consult an experienced personal injury attorney, contact us today.

About the Author

Bradley Thayer

Brad Thayer is a partner at the Schauermann Thayer firm. Brad is licensed in both Oregon and Washington. He has been practicing law since 2015. He was presented the 2018 Rising Star Award by the Clark County Bar Association. Brad's practice focuses on automobile collision, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian injury, dog bite, and myriad other types of injury and insurance cases. During his free time, Brad enjoys following the Portland Trail Blazers, playing basketball, going to concerts, and playing the drums. He especially enjoys hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and exploring other Northwest wonders.


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