For all personal injuries in Arizona, there is a time limit for filing a lawsuit. This deadline is known as the “Statute of Limitations.” For most personal injury victims, Arizona’s statute of limitations is not a concern, as the majority of personal injury claims settle prior to initiating litigation. However, a number of factors could delay settlement negotiations and force you to file a complaint to avoid missing a deadline. Extensive medical treatment, injuries with delayed manifestations, and unreasonable or inadequate settlement offers by insurance adjusters are among the circumstances that could bring a filing deadline into play. Missing such a deadline could bar you from the recovery you deserve.
Under ARS § 12-542 the Arizona statute of limitations for alleging a personal injury in a car accident is “two years after the cause of action accrues.” This two year time period generally begins on the day of the accident. For example, if you were injured in a car crash on January 1, 2020, your filing deadline will be January 1, 2022.
Nonetheless, you should not panic if you believe a filing deadline is approaching on your claim. Even when the statute of limitations is approaching, it is never ideal to rush into litigation without proper preparation or representation. If you file a claim without legal representation, defense attorneys will undoubtedly attempt to take advantage of your limited knowledge of the law. Accordingly, it is in your best interest to call a Phoenix car accident attorney if you believe you have a personal injury claim. At Torgenson Law, our years of legal education and experience practicing personal injury law has informed us to the many nuances of Arizona law, including statutes of limitation. For your benefit, we want to impart on you a basic understanding of Arizona’s statute of limitations for personal injury actions that result from car accidents.
Of course, Arizona law protects the rights of children and minors who are injured in a car accident. Specifically, under ARS § 12-502, the two-year statute of limitations is “tolled” until the minor reaches the age of 18. In other words, a minor has two years after his 18th birthday to file a personal injury claim. So, if a child suffers injuries in a car accident at age 10, the statute of limitations on his or her potential personal injury claim would not expire until he or she turns 20-years-old.
A claim against the government or a municipality will also affect the statute of limitations in your personal injury case. ARS § 12-821 requires that personal injury actions against public entities to be filed within one year after the accident. Additionally, this statute also requires that the plaintiff file a “Notice of Claim” on the public entity within 180 days after the date of loss. Let’s say you suffered personal injuries due to a car crash caused by the negligent driver of a City of Phoenix bus on January 1, 2020. Because your injury claim is against the City of Phoenix, you would have 180 days to notify the City of the facts that gave rise to your claim and the specific dollar amount needed to settle the claim. If the City refuses to settle, you have until January 1, 2021 to file a lawsuit under the applicable statute of limitations.
The standard two-year statute of limitations may be tolled if the injury is discovered down the road. In these cases, the statute of limitations begins to run when once the victim discovers the injury and not when the injury occurred.
Arizona courts are generally very strict in enforcing statutes of limitations. If you miss the deadline, you will likely be barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit regardless of the liability of the other driver. Do not let this legal formality block your legal rights to fair compensation. If you suffer a personal injury or are concerned your deadline to file a claim has expired, call the personal injury attorneys at Torgenson Law at (602) 759-0012 for a free legal consultation.