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How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Posted on May 3, 2021 in

Sometimes, the effects of a car accident are delayed. A victim may not realize he or she is injured until a few days after the crash. In other cases, a victim recognizes his or her injuries but decides to wait to seek financial compensation.

In Arizona, there is a time limit for filing a lawsuit for all personal injuries. The legal term for this deadline is a statute of limitations. If you wait too long and miss your statute of limitations, you could be barred from the financial recovery you deserve. As such, you should speak with a Queen Creek car accident lawyer as soon as possible following an accident in Maricopa and Pinal Counties.

What Is Arizona’s Statute of Limitations?

Arizona’s statute of limitations is located in Arizona Revised Statute Section 12-542. This law states that all legal actions must be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrues. This means that after a car accident or another type of incident that gives you an injury, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your exact time limit may differ, however, depending on the type of claim:

  • Personal injury or property damage: two years from the accident
  • Claim against the government: 180 days from the date of the injury
  • Injury to a minor: two years from the child’s 18th birthday
  • Wrongful death: two years from the date of the death of the party injured

You may have more or less than two years to file an injury claim for a car accident, according to your case type. For the most part, however, you must take legal action within 24 months to have a valid claim to financial compensation from one or more parties in Arizona.

What Is the Discovery Rule?

The discovery rule is an important exception to the statute of limitations that you may be able to use in your Arizona car accident case to extend your time to file. The discovery rule states that if you do not discover your car accident injuries immediately, you may have more time to bring a lawsuit. In this case, the clock starts ticking on the date of injury discovery rather than the date of the accident.

If your adrenaline from the car crash was masking your symptoms, for example, leading to an injury diagnosis a few days after your car accident, you would have two years from the date of injury discovery rather than two years from the accident. Note, however, that if a prudent person reasonably would have noticed the same injury sooner, the defendant may argue that your statute of limitations began on the date you reasonably should have recognized your injury.

When To Call a Car Accident Lawyer

It is critical not to wait to file an injury claim in Arizona after a car accident. You do not have unlimited time in which to seek financial compensation from one or more parties. If possible, do not wait at all to claim an injury after a car accident. The sooner you contact an attorney and get started with the legal process, the sooner you can obtain the financial compensation you need to move forward.

Aside from the risk of losing your right to recover, waiting to file also comes with issues that can decrease the strength of your case. It is important to file soon, while your memories and eyewitnesses’ recollections of the car accident are still clear. Acting quickly can also allow you to gather stronger evidence from the scene of the crash, before the police or the city clean up and significantly change the site of the car accident.

As soon as you realize that you have injuries from a car accident in Arizona, consult with a car accident attorney near you. Most car accident lawyers offer free consultations, where you can receive legal advice at no cost or obligation. Speaking to an attorney as soon as possible can ensure you meet your deadline in Arizona and have the strongest possible claim to financial compensation.