How Long Do I Have To Sue After a Car Accident in Arizona?
A statute of limitations is the time limit a person has to bring a claim. Without the statute of limitations, if someone caused a motor vehicle collision in 1985, that person would have to constantly worry about someone suing them, even decades later.
Each state determines the limited amount of time a person has to file a claim. After the statute of limitations runs out, the injured party will not be able to pursue compensation. However, there are also important distinctions regarding when the statute of limitations begins. For example, with an auto accident, the statute of limitations clock will begin running right when the accident occurs. Some states may have a statute of limitation of two years while others have a limit of three years for personal injury claims.
The Statute of Limitations in Arizona
In Arizona, the statute of limitations for injury lawsuits is two years. The statute can be extended for a variety of reasons, depending on the age of the injured party or if they discover an injury that was sustained in an accident many years after the accident occurred.
However, in most cases, courts strictly enforce the statute of limitations to protect a defendant from facing liability several years after an accident and to prevent the court system from being clogged up with old disputes.
Typically, the motion to dismiss a case based on the statutes of limitations is brought at the start of a case, with the court ruling in favor of barring the case due to the statute of limitations running out.
Exceptions to Statute of Limitations in Arizona
As mentioned above, there are some instances in which a personal injury lawsuit can proceed, despite filing the lawsuit after the two-year time period.
Injuries to Minors
If a child is under the age of eighteen or is not of sound mind at the time of the collision, the clock for the statute of limitations will not start running until the child reaches the age of eighteen or regains the proper mental capacity.
Rule of Discovery
In some cases, a person may not know they suffered an injury at the time of the accident and will discover the injury after the two-year statute of limitations has run out. The statute of limitations will start running as soon as the injury is discovered.
Absence of Defendant from State
If a defendant does not reside in Arizona during the statute of limitations two-year period, the clock is suspended until they return. For example, if a person is injured in an auto accident and moves out of state, only to return three or four years later, they are still eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to pursue compensation from the other party.
What If You Miss the Filing Deadline?
If you were injured in an auto accident and it’s been more than two years since the accident occurred, you can still take legal action and file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your accident-related damages, however, the person or entity you filed a suit against will most likely file a motion to dismiss the case.
Unless you were a minor at the time of the accident, you moved out of state, or you did not discover your injury until after the statute of limitations ran out, the court will dismiss the case. Once your case is dismissed, you will be unable to pursue compensation.
The Arizona statute of limitations for personal injuries is pivotal if you plan to pursue compensation in court, however, the filing deadline set by the state is also important to your position in settlement negotiations with the negligent driver or their insurance provider. If the other party is aware that the statute of limitations deadline has passed, you will be unable to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
Meet With a Personal Injury Attorney As Soon As Possible After an Auto Accident
If you were involved in a collision and you sustained injuries and other damages, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next or what your rights are. Because you have a limited amount of time to pursue compensation for your injuries, you must contact an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible after a collision. Many people think two years is plenty of time to file a lawsuit or claim, but they fail to realize the work involved in proving liability and building a case.
Filing a lawsuit or claim can involve gathering evidence from a variety of places and sources, negotiating with insurance companies, and investigating the accident to identify all avenues of compensation. The more complex an accident was, the longer the investigation process will be. Additionally, insurance companies have a reputation for dragging their feet to delay payout.
Working with an injury attorney, you can feel confident that all of the proper paperwork is filled out correctly and filed on time. You also won’t have to worry about gathering evidence, investigating the crash, contacting witnesses, or negotiating with the insurance company.
At the Ferguson Law Group, we have extensive experience handling the most complex auto accident claims and know the importance of filing a claim or lawsuit within the required two-year period. When you work with one of our accident attorneys, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your case is being handled the right way, before the statute of limitations runs out.
Contact the Ferguson Law Group Today to Schedule a Free Case Review
At the Ferguson Law Group, we offer free case review sessions. At a consultation, you can meet with an attorney one-on-one to have all of your questions answered and your concerns addressed. We understand how stressful and challenging life is after an accident, which is why we strive to make the entire legal process as low-stress as possible for you. If you’re ready to take that first important step toward receiving the compensation you deserve, contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.