As the injured plaintiff — in Arizona and elsewhere — you should take note of the statute of limitations for your various claims. The statute of limitations is of prime importance in every litigation (both civil and criminal!). Essentially, the statute of limitations acts as a deadline for your injury claims.
Do bear in mind that the statute of limitations deadline is a rather strict one. If you do not file your claims before the deadline passes, then the claims will “expire” and you will no longer be entitled to sue and recover damages against the defendant on the basis of such claims. As such, it’s absolutely vital that you connect with an attorney who will file your personal injury claims in a timely manner, and thereby avoid relinquishing your right to sue and recover damages in an Arizona court.
In the Arizona personal injury context, the statute of limitations deadline is two years from the date the cause of action accrues. This is a somewhat short period of time for such overwhelming tasks — during such time, you’ll have to begin the process of physical and psychological rehabilitation, reintegrate yourself into your career and social life, and more, in addition to identifying relevant injury claims and filing them before the deadline passes. A sense of immediacy is therefore critical to effective personal injury litigation.
When the Cause of Action Accrues
Normally, the cause of action “accrues” on the date of injury. Like many other states throughout the country, however, Arizona implements the discovery rule, which can change when the cause of action actually accrues.
The discovery rule can give plaintiffs a bit more time when circumstances are such that — even with reasonable diligence — the plaintiff would not have discovered their injuries, or the fact that there was negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct that could make the defendant potentially liable, until some later date.
This rule can be quite confusing. Let’s go through a brief example.
Imagine that you have been injured in a rear-end motor vehicle accident that occurred while you were stopped at a red light. The defendant’s fault is immediately clear, but you don’t suffer any obvious injuries at the time of the accident, besides some slight soreness. A quick doctor’s visit does not reveal any issues, either. Two years later, you are in great pain and get thorough diagnostic scans done on your spine. This reveals serious spinal degeneration that was set in motion by the rear-end incident two years prior.
In this scenario, if the cause of action accrued on the actual date of injury (i.e., the date of the accident), then you would no longer be entitled to sue and recover damages, as the deadline would have passed. If the cause of action accrued later (i.e., the date of discovery), then you would still have two years to file your claims. Whether the date of discovery is a legitimate one for counting the “accrual” depends on how reasonable it was to discover the injury at that later date. If a reasonable person would have discovered it sooner, then the date of accrual will be sooner.
Contact an Experienced Phoenix Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured due to the actions of another person or entity, then you may be entitled to sue that defendant to obtain compensation for your various injuries, in accordance with Arizona law. It’s important to note, however, that you do not have an unlimited amount of time to consider a lawsuit, so make sure to get in touch with an experienced Arizona injury attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon as soon as possible.
Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based law firm that has represented numerous clients in injury litigation through the years. We provide unique, discounted contingency fee arrangements that ensure clients can keep more of their damages as compensation.
Call (602) 535-1900 today to connect to an experienced Phoenix accident lawyer at our firm.