How Long Do I Have To File a Personal Injury Claim?
In 2020, Arizona car accidents resulted in 3,080 serious injuries. Car accidents are the state’s most common type of personal injury cases. The main reason for this is the rate at which accidents occur each day and the types of trauma. Victims can suffer severe cuts, broken bones, burns, internal injuries, brain trauma, and spinal cord damage. The lasting physical, psychological and emotional effects are often devastating. The financial costs can be catastrophic when medical expenses mount, and you may be unable to work.
Moreover, you could require ongoing care for chronic pain, long-term rehabilitation, or permanent disability. If you or a loved one are injured in an accident, filing a personal injury claim on time is important. These are things you need to know about filing a lawsuit within the Arizona Statute of Limitations.
What Should You Know About Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
After an accident, dealing with your injuries usually takes all your physical and emotional energy to get through the day. At some point, another reality sets in as bills pile up, especially if you can’t work and require ongoing medical treatment. Most seriously injured crash victims worry about how they’ll get by. Although you may want to put off thinking about looming problems, it is essential to address these concerns as soon as possible. Consulting with an attorney gives you peace of mind knowing an experienced professional is taking the lead.
The lawsuit process requires time and careful planning. Additionally, there are numerous laws, rules and regulations related to personal injury lawsuits that must be followed. The statute of limitations is one such law. Preparation is key to a successful recovery, and an attorney makes sure you meet the necessary deadlines.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is the legal timeframe you have to file a lawsuit. Every state has statutes of limitations that establish strict filing deadlines, and most have deadlines that apply specifically to personal injury (negligence) cases. The emphasis here is “strict.” There is little room for flexibility in a state’s statute of limitations. This law exists to designate a reasonable time period for resolving a civil (or criminal) matter. The time limits for personal injury cases are typically several years.
The clock on the statute of limitations usually starts from the time an injury occurs. However, most states, including Arizona, have an exception known as the “Discovery Rule.” This rule gives plaintiffs who didn’t know and couldn’t reasonably know they were injured a different accrual timeframe, which starts when an injury is discovered. This rule also applies when plaintiffs don’t realize until later that a defendant’s actions were the cause of their injury. Your attorney will explain how the statute of limitations works for your case.
How Long Is the Statute of Limitations for Arizona Personal Injury Cases?
Arizona has a two-year limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations is found in the Arizona Revised Statutes 12-542, which references “injuries done to a person of another.” While you are allowed to file within two years, you should never wait that long to get the legal process started.
Gathering evidence for your case is critical to support your claim, and waiting too long means valuable information will likely be lost. Depositions are an issue too because people forget significant details as the months pass after an accident. There are also important considerations regarding types of personal injury cases. Different kinds of cases involve personal injury claims:
Statutes of limitations can vary depending on the parties involved in a case: adults, minors, businesses, and public entities. Based on who the are parties to a claim, the time limit to file can be shortened or extended. It is imperative to have an attorney review your case to see exactly how the law applies to the circumstances surrounding your lawsuit.
When Should You File Your Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The rule of thumb for pursuing a personal injury claim is to do so immediately after you are injured in an accident. However, as noted previously, this may not be immediately obvious in some cases. If you discover an injury at a later date, you should consult with an attorney right away.
Delaying filing is a mistake under any circumstances. You don’t know what details will matter in your claim or how much time it will take for your attorney to build your case. Moreover, if you are unable to work and expenses are accruing, it is essential to get the process underway to get the compensation you need to move forward with your life. A Phillips Law Group attorney does a free and immediate case evaluation, so you know how to proceed.
What Happens if You Don’t File on Time?
If you fail to make the legal deadline for filing, the defendant’s counsel will file a motion to dismiss. Since the law is strict regarding the statute of limitations, the court will, in all likelihood, summarily dismiss the case. There are rare exceptions to the rule. Once a case is dismissed, you lose your right to seek damages. No matter your reasons, the court has no legal obligation to hear your case. You do not want to find yourself in this situation.
It is much easier to consult with a lawyer about your options and decide where to go from there. You are not legally bound to file a lawsuit just by speaking with an attorney. However, most individuals feel relief once they know their rights in a personal injury case and can start the process. Furthermore, you have a legal professional fighting for you and keeping you informed while you concentrate on healing.
What Does a Lawyer Do for You?
You have numerous advantages when an experienced lawyer takes your case. One of the most important is getting the fair compensation you deserve. These are other important matters a lawyer handles for you:
- Provides you with sound legal advice
- Negotiates with insurance companies
- Files your claim on time
- Completes, organizes and reviews legal paperwork
- Communicates with you throughout the legal journey
- Determines your case valuation (what your case is worth)
- Litigates your case
- Protects your rights
There is no need to wait until the last minute and risk your chances to recover. You will feel much more confident in the outcome when you know a skilled lawyer is assisting with your case.
Find the Right Attorney for Your Arizona Personal Injury Claim
Phillips Law Group is on your side and ready to help when you need to file a personal injury claim. Serious injuries that result from the negligent actions of another are too much to handle alone. We understand how frustrating and overwhelming things can get when you cannot engage in everyday activities or care for yourself or your family. There is no reason to delay filing a personal injury lawsuit. Missing the statute of limitations deadline has catastrophic consequences because you lose your chance for a recovery.
We have experienced attorneys who guide you through the entire legal process. We know how to file claims and litigate your case, so you receive fair compensation for your injuries. There are no fees unless you collect. Contact us for your free case evaluation.
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