Mesa AZ | Arizona’s statute of limitations and damages in a personal injury claim

I want to briefly discuss two topics that you should be familiar with if you are considering a personal injury claim. The first is Arizona’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims. The second is Arizona’s rules regarding caps on potential damages you can seek.

You can consider the term ‘statute of limitations’ as essentially synonymous with ‘time limit’ or ‘deadline.’ A statute of limitations sets limits on how long you can wait before you bring a claim. Every state has its own statute of limitations on personal injury claims. Arizona’s can be found in Title 12, Chapter 5, Section 542 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. It indicates that: “For injuries done to the person of another including causes of action for medical malpractice,” the time limit is “two years after the cause of action accrues.” In most cases, this means that you must bring your claim within two years of the date of your injury (the injury is the “cause of action”). So, if you were injured in a car accident on June 24, 2015, you have until June 24, 2017 to file a personal injury claim based on the accident with the court.

Two prominent exceptions to this rule are cases based on dog bites and products liability. Arizona has a statute that sets out the parameters of liability for injuries based on dog bites. Because dog bite liability is created by statute, you only have one year after a dog bite to bring a claim against the owner of the dog.

In regards to product liability claims (where, for example, a defective product causes an injury), the time limit is two years under Arizona law “except that no product liability action may be commenced and prosecuted if the cause of action accrues more than twelve years after the product was first sold for use or consumption, unless the cause of action is based upon the negligence of the manufacturer or seller or a breach of an express warranty provided by the manufacturer or seller.” (ARS 12-551)

There are other exceptions outside of the two I mention above, but, for the most part, you will need to bring your personal injury claim within two years of the date of your injury. However, you should always check the relevant law to make sure two years is the limit for your individual case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to ensure that you bring your claim in a timely manner.

Now, let’s move on to damages. Some states have laws that impose a “cap,” or a specific limitation, on the amount of damages a plaintiff can seek in a personal injury claim. The Arizona State Constitution does just the opposite. Article 2, Section 31 states that: “No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person.” So, there are no statutory limits on the amount of money you can seek to win from your personal injury claim. However, this does not mean you are guaranteed to win whatever you seek if you bring a successful case. You will have to persuade the court or a jury that the amount of damages you seek is appropriate for your case, and they might award you something higher or lower than what you expect. In most situations, a jury will be unlikely to award an amount of damages that is not tied to the evidence in your case. In sum, while there is no legal limit to what you can seek; be prepared to convince a jury that what you are seeking is the right amount.

If you have further questions or concerns regarding these two very important topics, please give us a call.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you or someone you know wishes to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney regarding Statute of Limitations and Damages, or other personal injury matters, call 480.461.5300. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.