Individual States 

WASHINGTON

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Express and implied primary assumption of risk are still complete bars to recovery to the extent that damages result from the specific risks assumed; but implied reasonable and unreasonable assumption of risk are subsumed by contributory negligence and is a damage reducing factor in strict liability cases. Campbell v. ITE Imperial Corp., 733 P.2d 969 (Wash. 1987) .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.

COMPARATIVE FAULT

Washington has adopted "pure" comparative fault for all actions based on negligence. Therefore, a claimant's negligence does not bar recovery, but damages are proportionately diminished. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §4.22.005 .

ECONOMIC LOSS

The Washington Product Liability Act (WPLA) creates a single cause of action for all product-related harms that supplants previously existing common law remedies. This cause of action does not afford a remedy for economic loss. Wash. Water Power Co. v. Graybar Elec. Co., 112 Wash.2d 847 (1989).

The types of harm recoverable under the WPLA include any damages recognized by the courts in Washington with the exclusion of all direct or consequential economic losses. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §7.72.010(6) ; Touchet Valley Grain Growers, Inc. v. Opp & Seibold Gen. Constr., Inc., 119 Wash.2d 334 (1992) .

"Economic loss" within the context of the WPLA is determined by a risk of harm analysis.

The court utilizes a "risk of harm analysis" even where plaintiff claims damages to "other property". Thus, there is no automatic "other property" exception. Staton Hills Winery Co. v. Collons, 96 Wash.App.590 (Wash.App.1999) .

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

Whether a plaintiff is at fault or blameless, liability shall be several only and not joint. If the claimant is found not at fault, defendants are held jointly and severally liable only for the sum of their proportionate shares of the fault, and not for any fault which is allocated third parties, settling parties, released parties, or immune parties. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §4.22.070 .

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Punitive damages are not available in product liability actions and are generally disfavored. Washington does not have a common law doctrine of punitive damages, and they are prohibited where not specifically authorized by statute. Sofie v. Fibreboard Corp., 771 P.2d 711 (Wash. 1989) .

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

A right of contribution exists between persons who are jointly and severally liable, whether or not judgment has been recovered against any or all of them. The basis of contribution is each person's comparative fault, but the court may determine that two or more persons are to be treated as one for the purposes of contribution. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §4.22.040 .

Contribution is available to a person who settles only if the settlement extinguishes the liability of the person against whom contribution is sought, and the amount is reasonable. A release or covenant discharges the joint tortfeasor of all liability for contribution. It does not release the other joint tortfeasors unless it so provides; but does reduce the claim by the amount paid pursuant to the agreement. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§4.22.040(2) to (3), and §4.22.060 .

If the comparative fault of the parties has already been established by the court, contribution may be recovered by motion. If comparative fault has not been established, contribution may be recovered in a separate action subject to certain time limits. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §4.22.050(1) to (2) .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

It is a complete defense to an action for personal injury or wrongful death that the claimant: (1) was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug at the time of the occurrence; (2) that such condition was a proximate cause of the injury or death; and (3) the trier of fact finds such person to have been more than 50 percent at fault. This includes all tort actions, including strict and product liability actions, except for those involving intentional torts. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §5.40.060 .

Under certain conditions, a seller other than the manufacturer is liable only for negligence, breach of express warranty, or intentional misrepresentation of facts or concealment of information. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §7.72.040 .

When the injury-causing aspect of the product was, at the time of manufacture, in compliance with a specific mandatory government contract specification relating to design or warnings, this compliance shall be an absolute defense. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §7.72.050(2) .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Product liability actions must be brought within three years. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §7.72.060 (3) .

Actions for breach of unwritten warranties, express or implied, must be brought within three years, and within four years for written warranties. Product liability actions based on breach of warranty without privity must be brought within three years. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §4.16.080(3) and §62A.2-725 .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

If the harm was caused more than twelve years after the time of delivery, a presumption arises that the useful safe life had expired. This may only be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §7.72.060 .

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

In actions which are based on fault and seek damages for personal injury or property damage, periodic payment of future economic damages shall be ordered at the request of either party as long as they are at least $100,000. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §4.56.260 .