Even the safest drivers can end up in a car accident at some point or another over their lifetimes. Crashes and collisions happen unexpectedly, rattling our nerves, causing damage, and potentially inflicting severe physical injuries, or worse, death. If you’ve been in an accident, it can be understandable that your first concern is for your health and the health of any passengers or pedestrians involved in the crash. The swirl of medical bills, pain, and adrenaline can be a source of confusion and panic.

If you hope to hold the guilty party accountable for the crash, it may be necessary to press charges with the help of a lawyer. However, there is a time limit on how long after the incident you are allowed to wait to file a claim.

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?

Every state has unique statutes of limitations for different crimes. The purpose of a statute of limitations is to ensure that people are not charging one another unreasonably long after the inciting incident after evidence is lost. And those who are accused of something should not have to worry indefinitely that someone will press charges.

The statute of limitations for car accident claims in the state of Arizona is typically about two years. So, if you were injured in a car accident, or if such a car crash resulted in wrongful death, you have two years from the date of the accident to file charges against the other driver or anyone who was at fault for the crash.

Is the Statute of Limitations Different for Filing Claims Against the Government?

Arizona has different requirements for filing car accident claims against a government agency, entity, office, or official. If you believe a government body was responsible for your car accident injuries, you have only 180 days to file charges after the wreck.

Additionally, individual counties and cities may have their own specific rules across the state. It is recommended that you contact an attorney for help filing your claim.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

While most claims need to be filed in the first two years after the accident, there are exceptions to this rule, including injuries to children and the rules of discovery.

If the injured victim of a car accident is a minor, the two-year deadline is “tolled” until they reach age 18. In simpler terms, the two-year statute of limitations clock doesn’t start until they’re legally an adult.

The rule of discovery, in this case, refers to those who do not discover their injuries until much later in life. If the injury reveals itself years later, the statute of limitations begins upon the injury’s discovery instead of the date of the accident.