How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim an Injury?

Posted on March 22, 2021 in Car Accidents

Car accidents often cause injuries that are immediately apparent, such as broken bones or lacerations. Yet, in some cases, a crash victim may not notice injuries until hours or even days later – especially when adrenaline from the accident masks the pain. Delayed injury discovery could extend your time limit to file. Find out how long you have after a car accident to file an injury claim in Arizona to avoid missing your deadline.

24-72 Hours for an Insurance Claim

An auto insurance company will want to hear about your car accident as soon as possible, generally within 24 hours of the collision.  It is a good idea to call your car insurance company the day of your crash, if possible.  But be aware that you may also have claims under your insurance policy so it is a good idea to contact an attorney to see if you need assistance before even talking to your insurance company.

180 Days for Claims Against the Government

Although most car accident cases in Arizona end with insurance settlements and do not go to court, if an insurance company does not handle your case fairly, you may need to go to trial. If this is the case and the party you are blaming for your car accident is the government for a defective roadway, you will only have 180 days after your car accident to serve a formal notice of claim against the government for your injury. This is the rule under the Arizona Tort Claims Act. If you fail to formally serve a Notice of Claim letter to the government agency at-fault within six months, you will most likely lose the right to file an injury lawsuit.  Be aware that there are a lot of very tricky procedural issues involved in making claims against government entities or employees, so you are advised to contact an attorney to ensure that you are following all the proper protocols.

Two Years for a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you are bringing your injury lawsuit against any entity other than the government, such as the other driver or an auto manufacturing company, you will in most cases have two years from the date of your car accident to file the claims paperwork, in most cases. Two years is Arizona’s statute of limitations, according to Arizona Revised Statute 12-542.  There are a variety of exceptions that require earlier action, including when you have been hurt on the job.  Contact a Phoenix personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to correctly determine what deadline applies to your case.

Two years is the deadline for most personal injury cases in Arizona, including those arising from car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. If a loved one died in a car accident and you wish to bring a wrongful death claim in Arizona, however, you will have two years from the date of his or her death to file rather than the date of the auto collision.

Discovery Rule Exception

There is an important exception to the car accident filing deadline in Arizona, called the discovery rule.  If you do not or could not reasonably discover your claims until after the time of initial injury (such as when companies hide key facts), typical deadlines may not apply.

Similarly, minor children and persons under certain disabilities have a longer time period to file their lawsuit (such as  two years from their 18th birthdays for minors to file injury lawsuits).  Other exceptions could also apply to your case to make your filing deadline longer or shorter.

For an accurate answer as to how long after a car accident you can claim an injury, consult with a Phoenix car accident lawyer.