Statute of Limitations for Work Injuries in L&I Claims

What is a Statute of Limitations (SOL)?

The SOL is a time limit imposed by law, within which time you must act, or lose your right to take action. In L&I cases, the SOL generally refers to the time you have:

a. from the date of your injury to when you must file an L&I claim or
b. from the manifestation date of your occupational disease until you must file an L&I claim and
c. from the negligent act that caused your third party injury until you must settle or file a lawsuit

What is the L&I INJURY Statute of Limitations (SOL) in Washington State?

If you have an injury on the job, you must file a Report of Industrial Injury within one year of the incident, or else you lose your right to do so. RCW 51.28.050.

What is the L&I OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE Statute of Limitations (SOL) in Washington State?

If you have an occupational disease caused at least in part by a job, you must file a Report of Industrial Injury or Occupational Disease within two years of notice.

When does the two years begin to run? It starts the day a physician or a nurse practitioner gives written notice to the worker of:

a. the existence of the disease, and
b. that a claim for disability benefits may be filed.

See the occupational disease statute of limitations for the legislature’s exact wording: RCW 51.28.055.

See L&I Claims are Either an Injury or an Occupational Disease page for more important details about occupational disease claims.

Statute of Limitations for Occupational Disease may be longer than you think.

The good news is that many persons actually have a lifetime or longer to file their occupational disease claims, because seldom does the two year SOL begin to run.

Even after death, a spouse often can still file an occupational disease claim for the deceased.

The bad news is that occupational diseases, due to their long latency period and the insidious nature of toxic poisoning, are difficult or nearly impossible to spot. Many valid occupational disease claims are never filed because the connection between work and disease is not recognized or because many persons don’t know their rights and are too timid to act. This is still true even when they know they are dying from on the job problems. Don’t let that happen to you.  Don’t be timid. Take action. Get advice about your occupational disease.

What is the THIRD PARTY CLAIM Statute of Limitation for L&I in Washington State?

The Statute of Limitation (SOL) is a time deadline after your injury until you must settle or file a law suit.

A Third Party Claim is a job injury caused by someone not your employer or co-employee. The statute of limitations for third party claims is 3 years for negligence and 2 years for intentional injuries. Miss this deadline and you lose your ability to hire an attorney and bring a lawsuit. Note however that the third party SOL never runs against L&I. Said another way, if you miss the SOL you can ask L&I to file a third party claim for you, pursuant the Carrera decision.

However keep in mind the underlying L&I job injury claim or occupational disease claim has its SOL, (see above).

Contact Washington Workers’ Compensation attorney Chris Sharpe if you have questions about the Statute of Limitations.

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Chris Sharpe

Meet Chris Sharpe

Christopher Sharpe is the go to attorney for injured persons. His law firm is helpful, honest, and knowledgeable about workers' compensation and personal injury law in the State of Washington. Chris has been helping injured Washington State workers for over 40 years. He has built a successful law practice by thoroughly educating, honestly helping, and successfully representing workers throughout Washington State.

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