Which circumstances would allow or not allow me to sue WSDOT?

November 2, 2016

There are many scenarios which could arise that would allow for WSDOT to be held liable for injuries. If you feel that you or a loved one has been injured and you believe that the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) could be to blame, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Negligence claims

Claims for negligence against the State of Washington are governed by RCW 4.92. In accordance with the statute, all claims for tort damages against the State of Washington, its officers, employees or volunteers who are acting in that capacity must be presented to the state’s Office of Risk Management. Claims are to be submitted by filing a specific form that’s provided by the state. The claim requirement is strictly construed. It’s highly likely that a failure to comply with the claim requirement will result in dismissal of a lawsuit, even if the consequences of the dismissal are harsh.

Pursuant to RCW 4.92.110, a lawsuit against the state isn’t allowed until 60 days after a claim has been presented to the state’s Office of Risk Management. Any settlement that the state participates in, or judgments it pays are paid out of a special account that has been established for those purposes. The statute of limitations for any injury lawsuit to be filed in Washington is three years from the date of the accident.

Sovereign immunity

Almost all states have tort immunity statutes that operate to protect them from claims of negligence. Those are based on the old English law that the king can do no wrong. Washington repealed its sovereign immunity statute, and by doing so, it exposed itself to cases involving ordinary carelessness or negligence. Most of the tort cases brought against Washington’s Department of Transportation involve accidents caused by:

  • Ambiguous, unreadable or no road signs
  • Dangerous highway design
  • Unsafe traffic patterns and traffic management
  • Negligent snow and ice removal
  • Failure to repair dangerous conditions
  • Negligent DOT drivers causing crashes

File your claim right away

The State of Washington has a staff of dozens of attorneys who do nothing but defend negligence cases that are brought against their employer. Anybody who wants to bring a claim or lawsuit against the State of Washington requires the services of a successful trial lawyer with the experience and resources necessary to advocate their case in a responsible, assertive and professional manner. You’ll want to have your claim filed with the Office of Risk Management sooner rather than later. Evidence and witnesses can disappear, so you’ll want to start preparing your case right away.

Contact us as soon as possible about any accident involving a governmental entity for a free consultation and case evaluation.

Related Articles

Get in Touch with Us
Discuss your case with an expert
*We will get in touch once we review your submission.