All states have what is known as statute of limitations which governs when cases must be filed. If a case is not filed prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, the person or entity otherwise having the ability to file suit will lose their rights.
Statutes of limitation apply in all legal matters, including criminal cases, cases involving contract breaches, and cases involving injury or wrongful death. The statute of limitations varies depending upon the nature of the case or matter.
In Arizona, a suit arising from a personal injury or wrongful death must be filed within two years after the date of the event or when the person harmed had knowledge of the wrongful act. In most cases, such as when a vehicle accident occurs, the date from which the statute of limitations begins to run is clear – it will be on the date the accident occurred.
In other situations, such as a toxic tort poisoning, the date may be less clear. A person may become sick for many months or even years before becoming aware of the cause of the illness. It may additionally take even more time to identify the person or entity responsible.
There are certain other conditions that can govern the applicable statute of limitations. For uninsured and underinsured vehicle claims, that statute requires that claims be filed within three years of the accident date or when the date the person knows that there is likely to be an insufficiency in the amount due. Additionally, for personal injury claims possessed by minors, the two year statute of limitations may not arise until later; usually two years after the minor turned 18 (if the claim is known) or two years after the claim is known.
Because of the critical importance for ensuring that a lawsuit is filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, and because the date upon which the statute of limitations may expire for a given claim may not always be clear, anyone who suspects that they may have been injured due the negligence or reckless acts of another should immediately consult an attorney.
If you believe that you or a family member may have been injured, please call us as soon as possible in order to protect your rights. Once we learn about your case, we can explain how that statute of limitations will apply, as well as how we may be able to help.
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