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Phoenix, Arizona

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How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

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If you have been injured in an accident and somebody else bears responsibility, one question likely to arise is whether you must file suit within a specified period of time. In Arizona, you must file suit within a specific time or you will forever lose your rights to sue. This time period can be as little as 180 days from the date you suffered harm (or should have known), as long as two years or longer from the date of loss. Typically, you will have two years from which to file suit for many cases.

If you suffer a loss due and a state or local entity bears responsibility, these time limits are more complex. In order to preserve your claim in addition to filing suit within a certain period of time, you must also first file a Notice of Claim within 180 days from the date of the loss. If you do not file a Notice of Claim as a pre-requisite to filing a lawsuit, you will forever lose your right to claim compensation from any state or local governments.

These deadlines from which to file suit may be different for different people and for different claims. For example, alleging a violation of a specific state statute typcially requires that you file suit within one year of the loss. Also, all of these time limits ordinarily do not begin for minor children until they turn age eighteen. This means that a two year old child who suffered injury due to the negligence of another could conceivably wait until age eighteen before filing suit. Moreover, during the time of a mental infirmity, the limitations period is placed on hold for those persons lacking in mental capacity.

These time limits may be different if you either did not know or should not have known of your injuries within the applicable limitations period. In order to avoid creating a defense in litigation, you should try to prevent defendants from arguing that you either knew or should have known of your injuries within the applicable time period and nevertheless did not file a timely lawsuit.

If you are not confused enough by now, keep this in mind: the best rule of thumb is to file suit well within any limitations period in order to preserve all of your claims, preserve evidence and minimize memory and perception problems. Arizona Revised Statutes provide guidance for most limitations periods. I have included a link to the general limitations period provided by Arizona law. However, your attorney can best assist you in making decisions about all applicable limitations period and what to do to best preserve your claims.