Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

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Understanding Frivolous Lawsuits

Posted Friday, July 13, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Not every personal injury claim is legitimate. In fact, you could be sanctioned if you file a “frivolous” lawsuit in Washington. That is one of the reasons you should always contact an experienced attorney – to make sure your claim is legally viable.

Here are a few things you need to know about frivolous lawsuits and filing legitimate claims in Washington.

Q: What is a frivolous lawsuit?A: Courts have defined a “frivolous lawsuit” as an action that “cannot be supported by any rational argument on the law or facts.” In other words, if your personal injury claim does not make sense legally or factually, then it is probably frivolous.

Q: How do I verify that my personal injury claim is not frivolous?A: There is a body of procedural rules (called the Superior Court Civil Rules) that informs litigants about how to comply with state law when filing a personal injury lawsuit (and other civil lawsuits). Specifically, Civil Rule 11 requires plaintiffs to make sure that any documents filed in court are supported by both factual evidence and the law. Plaintiffs must conduct a “reasonable inquiry” and make that assurance to the best of their “knowledge, information, and belief.” An inquiry is generally considered reasonable if it is what most people would typically do under similar circumstances.

Q: What is an example of a frivolous lawsuit?A: Here is an obvious example. More than two decades ago, a man named Richard Overton filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch in Michigan. Overton sought $10,000 in damages because the beer company “falsely advertised” that drinking Bud Light would make him fantasize about beautiful women on a beach, and he did not have those visions. He claimed the false advertising caused him emotional and psychological distress. The case was dropped.

Q: What happens if I file a frivolous lawsuit?A: You and your attorney can get into trouble for filing a frivolous lawsuit in Washington. The court might order you to pay the other party’s reasonable expenses (including attorney’s fees) if there is no “reasonable cause” for your claim. The prevailing party can file a motion for these fees after the case has been dropped, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and the judge will review the evidence and make a decision. That motion must be filed within 30 days of the dismissal order.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Washington

The best way to avoid filing a frivolous lawsuit is to talk to an experienced attorney about your case. An attorney can also ensure that you comply with other procedural requirements, like the filing deadline (or statute of limitations). In Washington, you only have three years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact Us Today

Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you were injured by someone else’s negligent behavior. We will examine the facts of your case and help determine whether you have a viable personal injury claim. Our experienced attorneys will then help recover the compensation that you deserve, including medical costs, lost wages, and other related expenses.