How Long are Judgments Good for in Washington?

In the event a person sustains an injury caused by the actions of another individual, they may be able to take the at-fault party to court to recover compensation for medical bills, property damage expenses, lost wages, and other damages. If a person’s claim is successful, they will receive a judgment against the at-fault party’s personal assets. But how long do these judgments last? Are people able to recover compensation for an infinite amount of time?

Here, we want to examine how long judgments are good for in the state of Washington.

Judgments Last Quite a While in Washington

In the event a person is on the losing end of a personal injury claim, and if they are unable to pay the amount of compensation awarded to a plaintiff, then a judgment may be issued against their property. Essentially, the plaintiff becomes a creditor, with the right to certain types of property in order to pay the judgment amount.

In the state of Washington, a judgment lien will remain attached to a person’s property for ten years. The ability of a creditor to collect under a judgment lien can be affected by several factors. This includes the fixed value amount that will not be touchable if the property is the primary residence of the debtor (homestead exemption), other liens that may be in place against the same property, as well as bankruptcy or foreclosure proceedings.

However, there are other types of property that a person could lose as a result of a judgment against them in a personal injury claim. This can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Checking or savings accounts
  • Brokerage investment accounts
  • An inheritance
  • Rental or investment properties
  • Second homes
  • Vehicles, boats, RVs, etc.
  • Business property and business equipment
  • A portion of income
  • Assets recently transferred to someone else
  • Assets controlled by a spouse
  • Artwork, jewelry, and collectibles

Will You Need an Attorney?

If you have been injured due to the negligent actions of another individual, you will likely be able to recover compensation for your losses. This may include compensation from an insurance carrier, but this may also include compensation directly from the at-fault party’s assets. This can get tricky, particularly for individuals who are not wealthy. Recovering compensation may require a judgment against the individual, but this still does not guarantee payment. 

We need to point out that the personal injury statute of limitations in Washington is three years from the date an injury occurs. This means that an injury victim has a three-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party, or they will lose the ability to recover compensation for their losses. Even though a judgment against an individual can last for ten years, this will not matter if you do not file your personal injury claim on time period

If you are on the receiving end of a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you should also have a Seattle personal injury attorney by your side who can handle your claim and ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the process.