How long after you suffer a personal injury can you sue?

About 9 years ago, I broke my arm at a school Japanese cultural event. There was a karate section and some of the people there pressured me into a karate match. The guy that was wrestling against, fell on me and since he fell on me, I fell backwards and didn’t landed correctly, and my arm just snapped(compound fracture). Now from the surgery on my arm, I still feel pain or numbness where the scar is.Iis it possible to sue the school all this time? I did not sign any waivers saying that if I had any injuries the school will not be at fault.

Asked on August 30, 2011 Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, yoiu cannot sue for two reasons:

First, and most importnatly, there is only a limited time to sue for an injury; that time period, called the statute of limitations, appears to be two years in Washington State, so you would be seven years too late--if the lawsuit was not initiated within two years of the injury, you cannot sue. You lawsuit would be barred by the passage of time.

Second, even without an explicit waiver  of liability, it's unlikely that liability would be found; people are found to accept the normal risks of the activities they participate in, and an accidental break in a wrestling or martial arts match is a normal risk of that type of activity.

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