Posted on:Jun 19, 2020

When are the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases?

HomeBlogWhen are the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases?

When you have been injured by an act of negligence, wrongdoing, carelessness, or maliciousness, you may be able to file a civil claim against the liable party. However, there are statute of limitations. These are a specified time limit used by courts, and that determine when a person can file a claim. If you miss the statute of limitations in Arizona, your case will very likely be dismissed. 

If you have any questions about when are the statute of limitations in personal injury cases? please call our firm to speak with a personal injury lawyer. We can help you to file a claim correctly, and before the deadline. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?

In Arizona, there are several statutes of limitations for different personal injury actions. This means you must understand the designated time frame for each civil action in order to recover damages. 

General Personal Injury Claims

If you are seeking damages for an injury that has been caused by another person’s negligence, you generally have two years to file. 

This two-year time limit begins on the date of the injury. However, there is an exception known as the rule of discovery. This rule dictates that if the victim was not aware of their injury (or illness), the statute of limitations begins on the date he or she discovered the injury or should have discovered it. For example, if a person was diagnosed with mesothelioma, but was exposed at their job 20 years before, their statute of limitations would likely begin on the date of the diagnosis. 

Wrongful Death Claims

In Arizona, wrongful death is one that occurred by negligence, default, or a wrongful act. These claims are reserved to a situation in which the victim would have been able to file a personal injury claim had they not died. In Arizona, only the following parties can file a wrongful death claim:

  • The surviving spouse
  • The surviving parent or guardian
  • The surviving children 
  • The personal representative

There may be exceptions, and these can be explained by a personal injury lawyer. These parties will generally have two years to file a wrongful death claim. 

Medical Malpractice

If you were injured by the negligent actions of a medical professional, you may be able to recover damages. The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is two years from the date of discovery. The discovery rule does apply with these cases; however, the victim must be able to show that they could not have known about the injury until the time he or she took action. In general, a lawyer will be needed to pursue a medical malpractice claim. 

Product Liability

A claim involving a product liability injury is typically handled differently under the Arizona laws. In general, you have two years to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer, designer, or retailer. That being said, you will have 12 years to file a claim when the product was sold for use based on a breach of warranty. 

Personal Injury Claims Involving Children

When a child is injured because of negligence, the statute of limitations will be delayed until the victim reaches his or her 18th birthday. At this point, they will have two years to file for damages. There are also exceptions for people who are mentally incompetent or impaired. In this case, the statute may be delayed until the disability is no longer relevant. If they are permanently disabled, their guardian will likely have the right to recover damages on behalf of the impaired victim. 

Claims Against the Government

If a government entity, public institution, public employee, or other state or federal agency caused you harm, you have just 180 days from the date of the incident. These types of cases are complicated and will almost certainly need to be overseen by a personal injury lawyer. Call the Saavedra Law Firm today.

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