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Arizona Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

November 19, 2020 By John Torgenson

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, you should be entitled to various types of compensation for your losses. Injury victims are regularly able to receive coverage of their medical bills, lost income if they cannot work, coverage of their out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more. However, injury victims also need to be aware that there is a limit on the amount of time they have to file personal injury lawsuits in civil court in Arizona. This time limit is called the personal injury statute of limitations.

In Arizona, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that injury victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party in order to recover the compensation they need.


Exceptions to the Rule

As with every other state, there are various exceptions to the personal injury statute of limitations that could allow additional time for a lawsuit to be filed. However, the exceptions are very limited and do not happen often. Additionally, there are exceptions to the rule that actually lower the amount of time that a personal injury victim has to file a claim. Here, we want to examine the only exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Arizona.

Claims Against Public Entities

Lawsuits filed against public entities (state, county, city governments) face significant limitations. A formal claim against the entity must be filed within 180 days, and a lawsuit must be filed within one year after the incident occurs.

Injuries to Children under 18

If the injury victim was under the age of 18 or was “of unsound mind” at the time the incident occurred, then the two-year statute of limitations “clock” will not begin running until the injury victim reaches the age of 18 or when they regain proper mental capacity.

Time Limits in Medical Malpractice Claims

The statute of limitations for Arizona medical malpractice claims is also two years from the date the incident occurred. However, as with the personal injury statute of limitations, there are various exceptions for medical malpractice claims. For example, the statute of limitations may be extended if the injury or illness was not immediately apparent. In these cases, the rule of “discovery” will apply. The statute of limitations would begin from the date the injury or illness was discovered or from when it should have been discovered through exercising reasonable care.

Additionally, if a medical malpractice victim was under the age of 18 at the time of their injury or illness, the statute of limitations clock will not start ticking until they reach the age of 18, essentially giving them until they are 20 to file a malpractice claim.

Time Limits in Product Liability Cases

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to a defective product, you will have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in civil court in Arizona. However, the civil action against a product company or manufacturer cannot be commenced if the injury occurs more than 12 years after the product was first sold for use or consumption unless the injury was caused by the negligence of the manufacturer or seller or a breach of an express warranty.

Statute of Limitations in Negligence Claims

The personal injury statute of limitations for an action alleging negligence is two years from the date the alleged negligence occurred. This is the same statute of limitations that we mentioned above for personal injury claims. The same exceptions will apply in these cases.

Statute of Limitations in Wrongful Death

If you lose a loved one due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of somebody else, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses through a wrongful death lawsuit filed in civil court. However, just like with personal injury cases, there is also a statute of limitations attached to wrongful death claims in Arizona. The wrongful death statute of limitations in this state is two years from the date of the deceased person’s death.

What if You Miss the Deadline?

If you or an injured loved one misses the personal injury statute of limitations deadline for your claim, it is very likely that any case you file in court will be dismissed. Unfortunately, failing to abide by the statutory timeframe for filing a personal injury case in court usually means that the injury victims will be unable to recover the compensation they would have otherwise been entitled to.

That is why it is so important to work with a skilled Phoenix personal injury lawyer for your case as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to examine the facts of the situation and keep you apprised of all approaching deadlines.

Why Work with an Attorney?

Whether you need to file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim after the loss of a loved one, you need to work with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. An Arizona personal injury or wrongful death attorney is going to be your advocate. Most injury victims or grieving family members do not have the financial resources or legal expertise necessary to fully investigate the situation. However, an attorney can use their resources to:

  • Obtain any evidence needed to prove liability, including photo or video surveillance, eyewitness statements, accident reports, and any other records necessary.
  • Work with trusted medical professionals who can fully evaluate and treat any injuries.
  • Enlist the assistance of economic and financial experts who can help calculate the total special and general damages.
  • Handle all communication and negotiations with other parties involved so you do not have to.
  • Prepare to take the case to trial if necessary to secure full compensation for your losses.

Importantly, an Arizona personal injury or wrongful death attorney will have a thorough understanding of all deadlines related to your case. Your attorney will ensure that all paperwork is filed on time so that your lawsuit can proceed.

John Torgenson portrait

John Torgenson

John Torgenson is a highly experienced personal injury lawyer with over 20 years of practice in Arizona. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Notre Dame. John has a proven track record of securing substantial verdicts and settlements, including an $8.25 million recovery for a gunshot injury victim. His expertise has earned him AVVO ratings and recognition as a Super Lawyer.

John is also a sought-after lecturer on personal injury law, sharing his extensive knowledge with peers and aspiring attorneys. Beyond his legal practice, John is an avid golfer and actively supports organizations like the Military Assistance Mission, Arizona School for the Arts, Page Balloon Regatta, University of Arizona Foundation, Junior Achievement of Arizona, and the Tim Huff Pro Bono Golf Classic.

Passionate about advocating for injury victims, John dedicates his career to battling insurance companies and corporate interests, ensuring that the rights of those who are hurt are vigorously defended.