After being injured in an accident that was the fault of a state, county or municipal employee in or around Phoenix, special laws apply. They’re found in the Arizona Tort Claims Act, and it details specific rules about how you’re required to go about seeking compensation for injuries after an employee of an Arizona government entity caused those injuries. If you fail to comply with those rules, you might be forever barred from seeking compensation for your injuries. Aside from proving negligence and damages, here are the two major hurdles.
The Notice of Claim
If a personal injury victim wants to make any type of claim for damages against a government entity in Arizona, he or she must first serve the entity with a written claim notice within 180 days of the date of the injury. That notice is required to provide specific information about what happened, when and where it happened, the injuries suffered and factual material in support of the damages claimed. Failure to provide a timely notice, improper service of the notice or a deficient notice will likely operate to forever bar an injury victim from proceeding further.
Response Time and The Statute of Limitations
After service of the claim notice, the government entity has 60 days to respond. If it doesn’t respond, the claim is deemed denied. If it’s denied, the injury victim can go ahead and file his or her lawsuit. The general rule in Arizona is that a person who is seeking compensation for injuries suffered in an accident has two years from the date of that accident to file their personal injury lawsuit. That’s not the case when a person was injured as a result of the negligence of an employee of a government entity. Unless the victim was a minor or incompetent at the time of the accident, that victim has only one year from the date of the injury to get their lawsuit on file.
The 180 day notice and one year lawsuit rules for personal injury claims against government entities in Arizona are strictly construed, so victims will want to strictly comply with them. Here’s how those hurdles should be approached. Victims should contact our offices right away to arrange for a free consultation and case review after being injured in an accident that was caused by the employee of a government entity. If we’re retained in the case, our personal injury attorney will take care of all of the legal details.