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Statutes of Limitations (WASHINGTON)

Personal Injury - 3 yrs. [RCWA 4.16.080]

Wrongful Death - 3 yrs. [RCWA 4.16.080]

Med Mal - 3 yrs. from act/omission or 1 yr. from discovery, whichever period expires later, but no later than 8 yrs. after said act/omission [RCWA 4.16.350]

Personal Property Damage - 3 yrs. [RCWA 4.16.080]

Real Property Damage - 2 yrs. [RCWA 4.16.130; Will v. Frontier Contractors, Inc., 89 P.3d 242 (Wash. App. 2004)]

Product Liability - 3-yr (rather than 4-yr statute of limitations for breach of warranty) applied to action which stated a product liability claim [Martin v. Patent Scaffolding, 678 P.2d 362 (Wash. App. 1984); RCWA 7.72.060]

Written Contracts - 6 yrs. [RCWA 4.16.040]

Oral Contracts - 3 yrs. [RCWA 4.16.080]

Contracts for Sale (goods)  and Breach of Warranty - 4 yrs. (from tender of delivery) [RCWA 62A.2-725]


In determining whether to apply the discovery rule to determine the accrual of a cause of action, the possibility of stale claims must be balanced against the unfairness of precluding justified causes of action. The discovery rule for determining the accrual of a cause of action requires that when a plaintiff is placed on notice by some appreciable harm occasioned by another's wrongful conduct, the plaintiff must make further diligent inquiry to ascertain the scope of the actual harm. For the discovery rule for determining the accrual of a cause of action, a person who has notice of facts that are sufficient to put him upon inquiry notice is deemed to have notice of all facts that reasonable inquiry would disclose.  [1000 Virginia Ltd. Partnership v. Vertecs Corp., 146 P.3d 423 (Wash. 2006)].




Statutes of Repose (WASHINGTON)

Products - No liability if product seller proves by preponderance of evidence that the harm was caused after product’s “useful safe life” had expired. “Useful safe life” begins at the time of delivery to its first purchaser.  If the harm was caused more than 12 yrs. after delivery, a presumption arises that the harm was caused after the useful safe life had expired. This presumption may only be rebutted by a preponderance of evidence.  [RCWA 7.72.060]

Construction of Real Property - 6 yrs. [RCWA 4.16.310]




Claims Against Public/Gov. Entities (NOTE: “Sovereign Immunity” Limitations May Apply) (WASHINGTON)

Usually, with respect to all gov. entities, a notice must be filed (as a prerequisite to filing suit) and entities have 60 days to deny the claim before suit can be filed [RCWA 4.92.100; 4.92.110; 4.96.010; 4.96.020]

All provisions of law relating to the limitations of personal actions apply to claims against the state [RCWA 4.92.050]




Comparative Negligence (WASHINGTON)

Pure comparative (Plaintiff can recover even if 99% at fault) [RCWA 4.22.005]




Made Whole Doctrine (MWD) (WASHINGTON)

Recognized/applied and, most likely, can be contractually modified (by clear/express language)


Subrogation is equitable doctrine guided by principle that party suffering compensable injury is entitled to be made whole but should not be allowed duplicate recovery; Insurer is entitled to reimbursement to extent that its insured recovers payment for same loss from tortfeasor responsible for injury, but insurer can recover only excess which insured has received from wrongdoer, remaining after insured is fully compensated for the loss [Mattson on Behalf of Mattson v. Stone, 648 P.2d 929 (Wash. App. 1982)].  Injured party must be made whole before injured party’s insurer may require injured party to reimburse insurer for subrogation claim [Skiles v. Farmers Ins. Co., Inc., 814 P.2d 666 (Wash. App. 1991)].  While insurer is entitled to be reimbursed to extent that its insured recovers payment for same loss from tortfeasor, insurer can only recover excess which insured has received from tortfeasor, remaining after insured is fully compensated for his loss [Thiringer v. American Motors Ins. Co., 588 P.2d 191 (Wash. 1979)]


However, Insured accident victim was fully compensated by less-than-limits settlement with tortfeasor despite reduction of his final recovery by his attorney fees, at least where he settled with full knowledge of his obligation to pay fees, and thus he had obligation to reimburse PIP insurer for its subrogated interest [Peterson v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Illinois, 976 P.2d 632(Wash. App. 1999)]


Parties to insurance policy may agree to subrogation standards that deviate from and thereby supplant those developed at common law [Fisher v. Aldi Tire, Inc., 902 P.2d 166 (Wash. App. 1995)]




Economic Loss Doctrine (ELD) (Assuming No Injury to Person or Damage to “Other Property”) (WASHINGTON)

Recognized and passively applied.  Almost case-by-case determination.


Whether “sudden and dangerous” test or more evaluative approach is appropriate method for analyzing “risk of harm,” in determining whether damages constitute more than pure economic loss and are recoverable under Washington Product Liability Act, is undecided in Washington [Touchet Valley Grain Growers, Inc. v. Opp & Seibold General Const., Inc., 831 P.2d 724 (Wash. 1992)]


Under common law, lack of privity between injured party and manufacturer would not bar recovery from manufacturer under strict liability theory.  “Economic loss,” within meaning of the Product Liability Act, which states that it does not afford remedy for “economic loss,” is determined by employing risk of harm analysis [Washington Water Power Co. v. Graybar Elec. Co., 774 P.2d 1199 (Wash. 1989)]


Under the independent duty doctrine, an injury is remediable in tort if it traces back to the breach of a tort duty arising independently of the terms of the contract [Affiliated FM Ins. Co. v. LTK Consulting Services, Inc., 243 P.3d 521 (Wash. 2010)]




Certificate/Affidavit Of Merit Requirements (Claims Against Licensed Professionals) (WASHINGTON)

Stature requiring certificates of merit in Med Mal cases was declared unconstitutional.




Landlord/Tenant Subrogation (WASHINGTON)

No subrogation allowed.  Under reasonable expectations approach, Landlord was presumed to carry insurance for Tenant’s benefit, absent express lease provision to the contrary [Cascade Trailer Court v. Beeson, 749 P.2d 761 (Wash. App. 1988)]




Reimbursement of Deductible(s) (WASHINGTON)

Auto and Property - Pro rata (must include in subro demand)





Med Pay and PIP - Subrogation allowed (subject to the Made Whole Doctrine and the Common Fund Doctrine)




Liability of Parents (WASHINGTON)

$5000 for willful or malicious acts [RCWA 4.24.190]




Joint Liability (WASHINGTON)

Several liability (Plaintiff can recover from each Defendant only that Defendant’s share of liability).  Exceptions (joint and several liability applies): (1) where Plaintiff does not bear any of the fault; (2) where Defendants act in concert; (3) where vicarious liability applies; (4) in cases involving hazardous waste disposal; or (5) tortious interference with contract. [RCWA 4.22.070] 




Independent Cause of Action for Evidence Spoliation (WASHINGTON)

Not addressed/recognized.




Conflicts of Law (WASHINGTON)

Tort - Courts will apply the “most significant relationship” test.  Elements of the test include: place of injury, place where conduct causing injury occurred, residence of parties, and place where relationship is centered [Haberman v. Washington Public Power Supply System, 744 P.2d 1032 (Wash. 1988)].  Contracts - Five elements must be considered: (1) place of contracting; (2) place of negotiation; (3) place of performance; (4) location of subject matter of contract; and (5) domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation, and place of business of the parties [Fluke Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 34 P.3d 809 (Wash. 2001)]



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