In Washington State, the statute of limitations (SOL) for written contracts is six (6) years. In Safeco Ins. Co. v. Barcom (112 Wash.2d 575, 773 P.2d 56 Wash.,1989), the Supreme Court of Washington held that contract law, and its six-year SOL, applies to an insured’s claim for UM/UIM coverage. Thus, a UM/UIM insured has six years to file a lawsuit against his/her UM/UIM carrier.
The question then becomes, when does the six-year SOL begin to accrue (run)? The SOL begins running when the UM/UIM insurance contract is breached, such as when the UM/UIM carrier refuses to provide UM/UIM benefits to its insured without legal justification.
Claims against a UM/UIM insurance carrier can be complicated and technical, so you should strongly consider obtaining legal counsel if you wish to pursue a UM/UIM claim.
Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.