Arizona Personal Injury Statute of Limitations 101
After an accident that causes you injury, the last thing you want to think about is dealing with insurance companies and paperwork. You may require a lot of healing time, or could be dealing with a debilitating condition. Unfortunately, while you are trying to manage your injuries, the bills are likely piling up, and insurance companies are calling.
It is tempting, given the circumstances, to put off pressing issues for as long as possible. However, personal injury cases are often complex legal matters that take time, and the law restricts how long you have to file a lawsuit. You need a lawyer who understands the Arizona personal injury statute of limitations to protect your rights, so you don’t lose out on the compensation you deserve.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
You’ve likely heard about a statute of limitations before, whether in the news or on television. A statute of limitations is the time allowed by law for filing a complaint against someone who has caused you harm. Statutes vary by state and range from one to six years. There are exceptions in some instances, and court rulings matter on whether your case falls under the rules of special circumstances. However, exceptions are narrowly defined in most states, and it is imperative to understand what your state requires regarding filing a lawsuit on time.
What Is the Arizona Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
The purpose of limiting the time to file a lawsuit in any state is to move cases forward within a reasonable period. For this reason, states enact statutes of limitations that govern both civil and criminal matters. It is important to have legal parameters in personal injury suits, so cases are resolved while evidence and witness testimony are relevant and available. It is much more difficult to litigate cases years after an accident occurs.
Arizona Revised Statutes 12-542 lays out the time limit “for injuries done to the person of another, including causes of action for medical malpractice.” An accident victim has two years from the cause of action to file a legal complaint against a defendant. Under rare circumstances, exceptions to this time frame are granted, but there are scenarios where filing deadlines are modified.
Exceptions to the Arizona Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
These are the two primary situations for extending a filing deadline:
- If an individual in an accident is under the age of 18, or if a person is of unsound mind at the time of the accident, the clock does not begin running until an individual turns 18, or a person regains necessary mental capacity.
- If the cause of the accident is not discovered until a later point in time, the two-year filing limit can be deemed paused until the cause is known and can be pursued.
The specifics of a case are essential determinants in making changes to the statute of limitations. Other scenarios apply based on the facts of those situations.
What Happens if You Don’t File on Time?
It is critically important that you file your case on time for several reasons. First, once the Arizona personal injury statute of limitations expires, a defendant has the right to file a motion to dismiss. While you can appeal for more time, you shouldn’t count on a favorable decision. Second, if you delay filing and the clock runs out, you lose the ability to recover compensation for your injuries. Depending on your situation, this may result in a devastating outcome. You won’t recover anything for economic (monetary) and non-economic (non-monetary) damages.
In cases involving chronic or disabling injuries, pain and suffering (non-economic damages) are significant factors in calculating a fair damage award. Finally, suppose you cannot work or have a loss of earning capacity in your career. The inability to pursue past and future losses can affect how you care for yourself and loved ones who count on you for financial support.
How Soon Should You Talk With an Attorney After an Accident?
It is essential to talk to an attorney right after an accident. A personal injury attorney consults with you about the merits of your case and explains the Arizona personal injury statute of limitations. If you have a case that might be subject to an exception, an attorney carefully guides you through the lawsuit process, so your right to recover remains viable until your case goes to court.
Additionally, it is always best not to wait out the clock on a personal injury lawsuit, because time is of the essence to gather evidence to support your claim. You want to be certain that your case is thoroughly researched and prepared before trial. Depending on the complexities of your lawsuit, your lawyer uses this valuable time to develop a strong presentation.
How Does an Attorney Help Regarding the Statute of Limitations?
If time is ticking on the Arizona personal injury statute of limitations, a lawyer determines how to proceed. It is never recommended to go it alone in a personal injury lawsuit. An organized and well-presented case is crucial to getting the recovery you deserve. An attorney takes care of the filing and begins the task of organizing information. This process typically includes:
- Handling communications
- Collecting evidence
- Preparing witnesses
- Gathering expert testimony
- Requesting assistance from accident reconstruction specialists
- Counseling you throughout the legal process
There are many more services lawyers provide, along with knowing the personal injury laws necessary to fight for you in a courtroom.
Get a Lawyer Who Knows About the Arizona Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
MDK Law Group is a team of experienced attorneys who help clients understand the Arizona personal injury statute of limitations and the reasons to begin building a solid case right after an accident. There is no need to delay when a skilled lawyer is ready to step in and gather all the details to prove your case and handle all the critical communications on your behalf. You have time to follow up with necessary medical treatments and therapies, and determine the extent of your injuries.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so accident victims don’t have to worry about payments unless their case is settled or won. We are here to help when you need it most. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.