A statute of limitations defines the time limit for initiating a lawsuit after you have suffered an injury or damages. All states, including Arizona, have enacted statutes of limitations for filing medical malpractice cases.. It is critical to be aware of these deadlines in order to maintain a claim for malpractice.
Deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Arizona. Those who have suffered injury from medical malpractice have two years from the time that the malpractice occurred to file a lawsuit, as codified in A.R.S. § 12-542. The statute of limitations typically begins running on the date that the negligence occurred. Failure to file a lawsuit within the two years allotted under the statute will most likely result in the claim being barred unless an exception applies (as discussed below). However, Arizona also follows the “discovery rule.” Under the discovery rule, the standard deadline for filing a lawsuit does not apply if the individual who suffered the injury could not have reasonably known that he has a claim for malpractice. In this case, the statute of limitations accrues on the date that the injured party discovered or should have known that he has an action for malpractice. Plaintiffs who assert the discovery rule must prove that they did not know and could not have reasonably been aware of the existence of the claim until they ultimately initiated the action.
Exceptions to the general filing deadline. There are exceptions to the standard two-year statute of limitations that extend the time period for filing malpractice claims. Some of these exceptions include:
- For minors (children under the age of 18) or those of “unsound mind” at the time the malpractice occurred, the statute of limitations does not commence until after this period of “disability.” This means that the clock begins to run for minors once the child has reached the age of 18. R.S. § 12-502.
- In the event that the provider accused of malpractice is not present in Arizona at the time the cause of action accrues or at any time during which the action might have been maintained, the injured person may file a lawsuit after the provider returns to the state. The statute of limitations does not run during the time of the provider’s absence. R.S. § 12-501.
Your success in a malpractice suit is highly dependent on adhering to the rules for filing. An experienced malpractice attorney can ensure that your case is filed in accordance with state law.
Chernoff Law handles business, real estate, and injury litigation matters throughout Arizona. Contact us by calling 480-719-7307 to discuss your legal matter.