If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit in Arizona, getting started can be stressful. You want to understand the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, the types of cases and the relevant laws that may apply to you.
Arizona statute of limitations
Each state has a statute of limitations on certain civil suits, designed to ensure that a case is not pursued long after the accident has occurred.
Over time, memories of the event may fade and evidence may be lost or difficult to find. The statute of limitations helps protect defendants from unfair legal action and ensures that the case can be assessed fairly and accurately.
In Arizona, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, which means that the individual has two years from the date of the accident to file charges. For example, if someone was bitten by a dog on August 1, 2022, they have until August 1, 2024 to file their case.
There are a few exceptions to this law, including if the injury results in death. In this case, the person filing the lawsuit has two years after the victim’s death to file the lawsuit. The other exception is if the victim was under 18 at the time of the accident, in which case they will have two years from their 18th birthday to file a complaint.
Although two years may seem like a long time, it is wise to gather evidence as early as possible to ensure you have a strong case.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in Arizona
While there are many different types of personal injury cases, there are Three main types of cases in which an incident could occur.
- intentional damage. If someone intentionally hurts you, such as in the case of a battery or assault, you can claim compensation. In such a case, you can also pursue criminal charges.
- Strict liability claims. In a strict liability case, the law makes the defendant liable for an accident or injuries whether or not they intended to cause harm. For example, if you drive a car with defective steering and suffer injury as a result, the car company may be liable even if it unknowingly developed a defective product.
- Accidental injuries. If someone’s negligence or failure to fulfill a professional obligation results in an injury, you may be able to apply for compensation. For example, if a store mops the floor and fails to put up a warning sign and you slip, the store may be held responsible. Conversely, if a medical practitioner accidentally injured you by acting negligently, you may have a personal injury case.
Arizona personal injury laws
Arizona has rules that determine the compensation you are entitled to in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Pure comparative neglect. Under Arizona law, if you are found to be partially responsible for your injuries, you may lose a percentage of your compensation. For example, if you were hit by a car running a red light, but you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, you may be held partially liable for your injuries and your damages reduced by a percentage of your fault. under Pure comparative neglectAs long as you are not 100% responsible for your injuries, you may still be entitled to compensation.
- Graded damage. In Arizona, when you initially file your complaint, you cannot specify the exact amount of compensation you wish to receive. Instead, you must select one of the three damage levels. Tier 1 will be selected if you plan to recover $50,000 or less. The second level is if you plan to recover more than $50,000 but less than $300,000, and the last level is if you plan to recover more than $300,000 in damages.
- Written notice requirements. If you plan to file a claim against an Arizona government entity, government employee, or school, you must provide written notice of your intent within 180 days after the accident. This notice is not the filing of a claim, but must be given before the claim is filed.
- damage caps. Unlike most states, Arizona does not set a maximum amount of money a person can receive for personal injury compensation. Although there is no cap, the individual must still prove economic damages and agree to terms calculated for emotional damages.
How can a lawyer help you?
A qualified attorney will take the burden of pursuing compensation off your shoulders. Your attorney defends you in settlement negotiations or before a jury if necessary.
Your attorney can help you determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to, as well as the evidence and witness statements that will best support your case.
Through their experience, many attorneys understand the tactics insurance companies use to reduce claims and use their negotiation skills to help clients get the best possible outcomes. Attorneys are also skilled in legal terminology and processes, which can add a layer of confusion and stress for those who are not in the field.
Although working with an attorney may make the process easier for you, it is not required. You can still pursue a personal injury claim without representation.
Most emergency attorneys work in personal injury cases, which means that payment for their work will be a percentage of the settlement or judgment obtained. If no settlement or judgment is reached in the case, you will not have to pay anything other than the public filing fee. Attorneys usually bear about 33% of the settlement or judgment, but the exact terms may vary.
Since there is no upfront cost to hiring an attorney, it may be wise to do so, especially in more complex cases. In minor cases, such as when an individual admits wrongdoing, you may be able to obtain compensation without a lawyer, which entitles you to full compensation.