If you have been involved in an accident, you have a limited amount of time to sue. In Arizona, you have two years from the date of the accident to sue. If you do not sue or otherwise resolve your injury claim within those two years, you simply cannot sue in the future.
Where does this two year time limit come from?
Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) 12-542 states that "there shall be commenced and prosecuted within two years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, the following actions: 1. For injuries done to the person of another ..."
In a personal injury case, the cause of action "accrues" when the injury occurs. In other words, the injury dates starts the two year clock.
"commenced and prosecuted" means you need to file your complaint with the court before your statute of limitations runs.
Exceptions to the two year time limit
If the person who is injured is a minor, the two year clock does not begin to run until that person turns 18. Similarly, if the injured person is of "unsound mind" the two year clock does not begin to run until the "unsound mind" disability clears. See A.R.S. 12-502.
Don't wait until the last minute
Even though an injured person has two years to file a lawsuit, we strongly advise against waiting until the last minute. Sometimes we get a call from a person who says, "My statute of limitations runs tomorrow! Can you help?" Most attorneys will generally say "I'm sorry, we cannot help."
24 hours is an insufficient amount of time to adequately review a case, meet with the plaintiff, draft a complaint and get a complaint filed.
If you are injured, we strongly advise taking immediate action. If you fail to take immediate action, the amount you may recover in a claim could be seriously reduced, or even denied entirely if you blow your statute of limitations.