Understanding time frames for legal proceedings is essential in any case, especially when it comes to personal injury claims. One of the most crucial deadlines is the statute of limitations. This legal rule outlines specific deadlines by which you need to file a lawsuit after suffering harm.
If this timeline expires before you initiate official legal proceedings, your chance at pursuing compensation typically disappears, regardless of how strong your case would have been. If you’ve been in an accident in Arizona and are considering filing a legal claim, it’s essential to know the deadlines. Then, contact our firm for help with your claim.
In the state of Arizona, there are different deadlines for filing a lawsuit depending on the specifics of the case and the parties involved. Generally speaking, if you suffer personal injury due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act in Arizona, you have two years from the date of your harm to file a lawsuit. This period allows ample time for treatments and understanding the full implications of your injuries before seeking legal recourse.
While navigating the statute of limitations can be straightforward in some situations, there are exceptions that can alter this deadline significantly.
If your claim is against a public entity or employee – such as city municipalities or county officials – the timeline is considerably shorter. You must file your claim within 180 days after the cause of action occurs. Here, accrual of the cause of action starts when you realize that damage has been done and either know or reasonably should recognize the cause, source, act, and event leading up to it.
“Persons who have claims against a public entity, public school or a public employee shall file claims with the person or persons authorized to accept service for the public entity, public school or public employee as set forth in the Arizona rules of civil procedure within one hundred eighty days after the cause of action accrues… For the purposes of this section, a cause of action accrues when the damaged party realizes he or she has been damaged and knows or reasonably should know the cause, source, act, event, instrumentality or condition that caused or contributed to the damage.”
In Arizona, if a child suffers an injury due to another party’s wrongful actions (before they turn 18), the clock on filing their claim is effectively paused until they reach adulthood. That means for minors, lawsuits could begin up to two years after their 18th birthday.
Individuals considered legally of unsound mind at the time of the accident have similar timelines as those under 18. The two-year deadline doesn’t start to run until they regain sound mind.
“If a person entitled to bring an action other than those set forth in article 2 of this chapter is at the time the cause of action accrues either under eighteen years of age or of unsound mind, the period of such disability shall not be deemed a portion of the period limited for commencement of the action. Such person shall have the same time after removal of the disability which is allowed to others.”
There’s another notable exception in Arizona personal injury law known as the “discovery rule.” This is predominantly applied to cases involving medical malpractice where negligence may not be instantly noticeable.
In such scenarios, the standard two-year statute of limitations doesn’t start from the date of the negligent act – rather, it begins when a patient reasonably knows or should have known that they suffered an injury as a result of malpractice.
If you’re dealing with injuries due to someone else’s negligence and are unsure about the deadlines applicable to your case, it’s always a good idea to consult a Phoenix personal injury attorney. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.