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What is the Statute of limitations for a Personal Injury Claim in Arizona?

Posted on April 3, 2024 in

Arizona has several different statutes of limitations that apply to different kinds of crimes and civil offenses. For our purposes here, we focus on the statute of limitations that applies to personal injury lawsuits.

Arizona statute of limitation laws give you two years to file a lawsuit for a personal injury, but they can be subject to variable situations that can affect how much time you actually have. If you have a claim for personal injury in Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona, our attorneys at Stone Rose Law can help you understand how the relevant statute of limitations applies to you. 

Call us at (480) 498-8998 to set up a free initial consultation to discuss your legal options and how much time you have to exercise them.

The Two-Year Basic Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Claim

The Arizona civil statute that establishes the two-year statute of limitations is Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-542. The language of this statute of limitations that applies to a personal injury claim is for “injuries done to the person of another.”

Related Statutes of Limitations

A civil lawsuit for personal injuries can occur by itself, but personal injury civil lawsuits often arise in connection with other legal claims.

  • For example, if you are involved in an automobile accident, then you have a claim or cause of action for property damage to your vehicle or other property. The same applies if someone trespasses onto your property and causes damage.
  • If you were harmed as a result of medical malpractice, this is a variation of personal injury.
  • If your injuries happened in connection with a theft of your property (“conversion” is the legal term for theft outside of criminal cases), this is a separate claim.
  • Or, if a relative of yours is involved in an incident caused by someone else that causes that relative to die as a result, then a cause of action for wrongful death or a survival action becomes possible.

Fortunately, the same Arizona statute that sets the two-year time limit for personal injury claims also applies to civil law claims for wrongful death and personal property damage civil claims.

How Circumstances Can Affect the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Some situations of your legal action for personal injury can change when the clock starts on your two-year limitation period. Other circumstances can result in the two-year time limit pausing; lawyers refer to this as “tolling” the time period. 

Here are some examples of how events can affect the time limits of the statute of limitations.

The Discovery Rule

Sometimes you can suffer an injury but not be immediately aware of it at the time. This is common with soft tissue injuries, the symptoms of which can be delayed. In these situations it is possible that the statute of limitations can start at a later time, specifically when you discover your injury, or through the exercise of reasonable diligence could have discovered it..

Minors and Mental Incompetence

If you are under the age of 18, or if you are legally mentally incompetent when your personal injury occurs, then the statute of limitations begins only when you are no longer subject to the underlying restriction. This means turning 18 or no longer being subject to mental incapacity.

Absence of the Defendant From Arizona

Sometimes the person responsible for your injury can leave Arizona before you have a chance to file a personal injury claim. If this happens, then under Arizona law, the statute of limitations tolls for as long as the defendant is out of the state.

One-Year Statute of Limitations Laws

In a few cases, Arizona law can cut your statutory limitations period in half from the usual two years. For example, if an Arizona statute creates a civil cause of action, then if you sue someone else based on that statute you have only one year to file a legal claim. 

Making Personal Injury Claims Against the Government

Another one-year statute of limitation that can reduce the statute of limitations from two years to one is the Arizona law that applies to claims, including personal injury claims, against government agencies.

Also important for you to keep in mind is that claims against the government effectively have two statutes of limitations, and the second one is even shorter. Claims against the government require you to file a notice of claim within 180 days after the cause of action accrues. If you miss this deadline, then your claim against the government will be denied even if you are still within the one-year statute of limitations.

how circumstances can affect the personal injury statute of limitation

What Happens If I Miss a Statute of Limitations Deadline?

You do not want to miss your deadline to file under any statute of limitations. If you do, two things will happen, and both of them are bad.

You Will Lose Your Legal Claim

When your statute of limitations expires, so does your legal claim. The court will throw it out based on a summary judgment.

You Will Lose Your Settlement Negotiating Leverage

Often personal injury plaintiffs will engage in negotiations with insurance companies before filing claims for personal injury. The timing of these negotiations is important to you because even if you notify an insurer and file an insurance claim before the end of the statute of limitations period, if you let the time limit pass then you will no longer have a personal injury lawsuit as a way to put negotiating pressure on the insurer.

What happens if I miss a statute of limitations deadline?

Should I Hire an Arizona Lawyer in a Personal Injury Claim?

Many good reasons exist to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, like one of our personal injury plaintiff’s attorneys at Stone Rose Law. Making sure you do not miss your deadline under the applicable Arizona statute of limitations is one way we can help you with your claim.

Stone Rose Law is a dedicated personal injury law firm. Our personal injury lawyers have successfully settled, litigated, and resolved hundreds of personal injury cases for past clients over the years.

At our law office, we put you first, prioritizing customer service and providing personalized legal strategies. Our team has a proven system that provides the highest quality legal care.

We use a comprehensive approach to prepare your case for the best possible settlement, and if your claim does not settle out of court, that meticulous preparation becomes the foundation to represent you in arbitration or at trial. Here are some of the items on our checklist of steps to take when representing you in a personal injury matter:

  • Accident and injury investigation
  • Evidence preservation and collection
  • Eyewitness interviews or depositions
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Claims paperwork and filing procedures
  • Connections to qualified experts
  • Aggressive insurance settlement negotiations
  • Personal injury trial litigation in Maricopa County, if necessary

From taking over the legal process on your behalf to connecting you to top doctors in your region, the personal injury lawyer we assign to you will look out for your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. You can rest and concentrate on healing while we deal with all the complex and arcane legal tasks on your behalf.

Arrange a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys to find out if we’re the right fit for your particular case.