When another party causes you harm or injury, you can file a lawsuit seeking damages. However, if you do not file a personal injury lawsuit before the deadline expires, you give up your right to pursue an injury claim through the court. The deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits in Arizona is known as the statute of limitations.
Why Does Arizona Have a Statute of Limitations?
Arizona uses a fault-based system for personal injury cases. You must prove that another party caused your injuries to recover compensation for damages.
Typically, a personal injury claim begins when you file a claim with the party’s insurance company. Most cases settle through negotiations with the insurance provider. However, if your case does not settle, you might need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Arizona has statutes of limitations for several reasons, including:
- To encourage the parties to settle disputes promptly.
- To prevent someone from using the legal system to harass a party by litigating an old matter.
- To ensure that civil disputes are decided on the best possible evidence.
- To help prevent backups in the court system.
Setting deadlines for filing personal injury claims benefits all parties. Evidence can be lost or destroyed over time. Witnesses could move away or die.
Unless there is an exception or an extreme circumstance, the court dismisses lawsuits filed after the statute of limitations expires. Therefore, it is always in a person’s best interest to seek legal advice from one of our Phoenix personal injury lawyers as soon as possible after an injury or accident.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Arizona?
The Arizona statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit varies depending on the type of lawsuit you file. The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in Arizona is two years from the date of injury or death caused by injury. That includes injuries related to:
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Dog bites
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
- Truck Accidents
A few exceptions exist to the two-year statute of limitation for personal injury claims. The circumstances and parties to an action could shorten or lengthen the time to file a claim. Because your case could be different, it is wise to consult an attorney to determine the specific deadline for your case.
Filing Personal Injury Claims Against a Public Entity in Arizona
Government entities are protected from being sued by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The government must give citizens the right to file a lawsuit.
Arizona has waived sovereign immunity for most personal injury claims. However, the Arizona Tort Claims Act sets specific rules dictating when and how claims against government entities may be filed. As a result, different deadlines for filing claims against the government apply in personal injury cases.
You must file a notice of claim against government entities and government employees within 180 days after the injury occurs. The action is barred if you do not file a claim within 180 days. If your notice of claim is denied, you have a maximum of one year to file a lawsuit against a government entity.
The claim must contain specific information and be served on the correct agency or person. If you believe you have a personal injury claim against the government, contact our office immediately to discuss your case with an attorney.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Minors
Arizona’s statute of limitations laws makes an exception to the deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits involving children.
A minor does not have the legal capacity to file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. They must wait until their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. However, a parent or legal guardian can file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of a minor for a childhood injury before the child’s 18th birthday.
The statute of limitations does not begin until the child is 18 years old to protect a child’s right to seek compensation for a personal injury. In most cases, a person has until their 20th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit for an injury that occurred while they were a minor.
However, parents and legal guardians should contact an attorney if their child sustains an injury. Even though your child could file a lawsuit after they turn 18 years old, waiting to file a lawsuit might not be in their best interest.
How Does the Discovery Rule Impact Personal Injury Cases in Arizona?
The Discovery Rule could extend the time you have to file a personal injury case in Arizona. Under the Discovery Rule, the statute of limitations does not begin until the person knows or should have reasonably known about an injury.
For example, during surgery, a physician makes a mistake that causes the patient harm. However, the patient does not develop symptoms for several years.
After a medical examination and diagnostic testing, the patient is informed that an error during surgery is the cause of the patient’s current condition. The statute of limitations would begin when the patient discovered the medical malpractice that caused their injury.
How Can You Protect Your Right To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Arizona?
The best way to protect your legal rights is to seek legal advice as soon as possible after an injury or accident. Personal injury claims can be complicated. The facts and circumstances of your case dictate the process of filing a claim or lawsuit.
Insurance companies and defense attorneys have substantial resources to investigate and fight personal injury claims. You are at a distinct disadvantage without an experienced injury lawyer on your side.
However, hiring a Phoenix personal injury attorney evens the playing field. An attorney has the resources and skills to investigate your claim to gather evidence proving your case.
Your lawyer understands personal injury laws and how those laws impact your case. Instead of worrying about deadlines and the burden of proving your case, you can focus on healing. A personal injury attorney handles all aspects of your case, from filing a claim to trying a lawsuit in court.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyers
You deserve to receive a fair settlement for your injuries and damages. Our legal team at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers, is dedicated to helping injured victims and their families. Call our law firm at (602) 595-5559 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation with one of our experienced Phoenix personal injury attorneys.