Common Statute of Limitations Exceptions in Arizona

Speak With a Phoenix Serious Injuries Lawyer Today If you’ve been injured due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and recover compensation for your various losses.  When pursuing a claim against the defendant(s), however, it’s important to understand that you do not have an unlimited amount of time — personal injury claims are governed by a statute of limitations deadline.  If the deadline passes before you file your claims, then you will be barred from pursuing compensation in an Arizona court.  The risk of “waiting too long” is therefore substantial. The statute of limitations can vary from case-to-case.  Generally speaking, personal injury claims are governed by a two-year statute of limitations deadline in Arizona, though this period may be shortened under certain circumstances (i.e., the defendant is a public employee or entity, for which the deadline will be just one year from the date of injury). Fortunately, you may not be entirely without options if the deadline passes.  In Arizona, and elsewhere, there are a few exceptions that allow the plaintiff to suspend the statute of limitations countdown, thus extending the deadline.  We encourage you to contact Hirsch & Lyon for an assessment of your case and guidance on how to proceed, particularly if you find yourself in a difficult procedural situation. Absence of Defendant from State According to Section 12-501 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, if the defendant is absent from the state during the […]

First Party Insurance Claims and Wrongful Denial

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, and you have significant liability coverage, then you may be entitled to compensation pursuant to the terms of your insurance plan.  In many motor vehicle accident cases, however, the injured are constantly challenged by their insurer and may not be awarded the benefits they seek.  This can place a significant burden on the injured plaintiff, who may not have any other recourse for compensation. Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we have extensive experience handling motor vehicle accident disputes, including those that require a first-party insurance claim.  Contact us for comprehensive guidance on how to proceed. First Party Insurance Coverage is Invaluable First-party insurance coverage is particularly applicable to motor vehicle accident scenarios in which the defendant-driver lacks sufficient insurance coverage to compensate you for your losses.  For example, if you have suffered damages in excess of $200,000, but the defendant has insurance coverage that pays out only $35,000, then that will be insufficient for your purposes.  You will have to seek full and adequate compensation through other means — in most cases, through first-party insurance coverage. Wrongful Denial and Bad Faith Claims Many plaintiffs do not realize that insurance companies are fundamentally arrayed against them.  It is the insurer’s goal to minimize their payouts so that they can maximize their overall profits.  As such, insurers tend to be aggressive in denying first-party insurance claims made by policyholders.  They may justify the denial in a number of different ways, such as by arguing […]

Sharing the Lane With Multiple Motorcycles

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the fault of another, then Arizona law may entitle you to damages.  Do bear in mind, however, that the lawsuit may be a bit more complicated than it initially appears. Motorcyclists are often — and unfortunately — perceived by much of the general public to be inherently undisciplined on the road.  This perception can be challenged, of course, but it takes skillful and detail-oriented advocacy, particularly in situations where the injured motorcyclist may have engaged in behavior that is violative of the law. Without context, this can all be somewhat confusing.  Let’s explore some basic issues relating to lane sharing and splitting, and how liability is affected. Two Motorcycles May Ride Together in the Same Lane In Arizona, Section 28-903A of the Revised Statutes quite clearly allows for two motorcycles to ride abreast of one another in a single lane.  This “lane sharing” allowance is limited to two motorcycles, however.  If another motor vehicle attempts to share the lane with you, then they could be held liable in the event of an accident. Prohibited Behavior Arizona prohibits a variety of behavior relating to motorcycle lane use: Motorcycles may not ride more than two abreast in a single lane Motorcycles may not ride between lanes of traffic (i.e., lane-splitting) Motorcycles may not overtake other vehicles in the same lane (they must transition into the next lane and back to perform a passing maneuver) By violating any of these prohibitions, you will […]

Wrongful Death and Financial Support Losses

The unexpected and wrongful death of a loved one can leave their family members devastated in many different ways. Though it’s natural to think only of the emotional consequences at first, there are real financial consequences to the loss of a loved one on whom you and the rest of your family have come to rely for support.  Without the income generated by a spouse, for example, a nuclear family may struggle with paying for food, rent, education, and health expenses, among various other necessities of life. Fortunately, Arizona law may provide certain individuals the opportunity to recover for those losses.  If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or wrongful misconduct of another, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant wrongful death compensation. How does it work?  Let’s take a closer look. Wrongful Death Basics Wrongful death actions give certain qualified family members the right to pursue damages for the losses they have directly suffered due to the death of their loved one.  For example, a wrongful death plaintiff may recover damages for the mental anguish they experienced (and continue to experience) as a result of their spouse’s death. For a wrongful death lawsuit to succeed, there must be underlying liability.  In other words, the defendant (who is responsible) must have acted in a negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful manner, thus causing the death at-issue. Calculating the Loss of Financial Support In many wrongful death cases, financial support losses form the largest component of […]

Unique Issues in Cases Involving Catastrophic Injuries

Contact a Phoenix Serious Injuries Lawyer Today for Help If you’ve suffered catastrophic injuries in a motor vehicle accident (that was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct of another party), then Arizona law may give you a right of action for significant damages as compensation.  Catastrophic injury claims are often associated with high damage recoveries, but — while it’s important to remain positive — there are a number of unique challenges associated with such disputes. Let’s take a look. Damages Must Be Sufficient to Cover Losses Catastrophic injury damages must be sufficient to cover all your losses.  These losses can be extensive and diverse, depending on the nature of the accident, the plaintiff’s own circumstances, and the resulting injuries.  It is not “satisfactory” to secure damages that are not enough to cover one’s losses. For example, suppose that you are injured by a truck in a highway accident.  The truck driver lacks adequate insurance coverage to compensate you for the range of losses that you suffered as a result.  Though your damages totaled $500,000, you were only able to recover $100,000.  That would be insufficient, given the circumstances. Now, if your attorney identified that the truck driver was an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment (at the time of the accident), then you might be able to bring a lawsuit against the employer under the vicarious liability doctrine.  The employer would likely have sufficient insurance coverage to pay out your damages in full. Effective […]

Liability in a Multi-Vehicle Pileup

Multi-vehicle pileups (also known as “chain reaction accidents”) are not uncommon on busy roadways in Arizona, and in the United States at-large.  When a motor vehicle accident occurs, then — depending on the conditions of the road and the average speed at which cars, trucks, and motorcycles are moving — a pileup could quite easily develop, causing the initial event to spiral out-of-control and affect a much larger group of people. If you’ve been harmed in a multi-vehicle pileup, you may be feeling confused and somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of litigation, and for good reason.  It may be unclear where you should even begin — there could be several different drivers who you believe are responsible for causing your injuries. Multi-vehicle pileup liability can be simplified through the application of basic causation principles.  Let’s take a quick look. Understanding the Chain of Causation In multi-vehicle pileups, the core issue is that of the chain of causation.  Defendants may only be held liable if their actions substantially contribute to the injuries you suffered, and if the chain of causation “linking” their actions to your injuries is continuous. Concurrent Causation Arizona law does not shield defendants from liability simply because others were simultaneously negligent, reckless, or intentionally engaged in misconduct.  If there are multiple causes to an accident (as is typical in a multi-vehicle pileup where several cars and trucks might fail to exercise reasonable care and thereby contribute to the pileup), then each defendant responsible for contributing to the accident […]

Can a Defendant Be Held Liable if They Had a Medical Emergency?

In Arizona (and throughout the United States at-large), if you’ve been injured in a car accident due to the fault of another party, then you may be entitled to significant damages as compensation for your losses. What you may not realize, however, is that your ability to recover could be affected by the defendant’s unique circumstances and impairments.  For example, though the defendant-driver may have crashed into your vehicle, if they were experiencing a sudden medical emergency at the time of the accident, then they may be able to avoid liability for your injuries. The sudden medical emergency defense can be confusing, so we’ll explore some of the basics to clarify how it works. Basics of the Sudden Medical Emergency Defense In order for the defendant-driver to take advantage of the sudden medical emergency defense and successfully avoid liability, they must show that: They suddenly lost consciousness, or experienced some other medical emergency symptoms that caused them to lose control over their vehicle; and The medical emergency at-issue was sudden and unforeseeable. Let’s take a closer look at these two elements. Loss of Control The defendant-driver cannot make use of the sudden medical emergency defense if they did not lose control over their vehicle at the time of the accident.  If the defendant was merely impaired, for example, but could still exercise a sufficient level of control that they could have avoided the collision, then they can be held liable for the resultant injuries. Events Were Sudden and Unforeseeable A […]

You Can Hold Your Mechanic Liable for Negligence

Many injured car accident plaintiffs mistakenly believe that their lawsuit will progress in a simple and straightforward manner.  This is natural, of course.  They may approach the case with their own understanding of what transpired, and who is responsible for their damages.  In truth, however, a car accident lawsuit can develop in a rather non-standard fashion (depending on the circumstances), which can take a plaintiff by surprise. In the car accident context, one of the various non-standard possibilities for recovery is the negligence of a mechanic/auto shop.  Drivers trust their mechanics to perform comprehensive inspections and to correct defects as they are discovered, or to — at the very least — notify them as to the existence of such defects.  If a mechanic fails to do so, then they could be held liable for the damages suffered in a subsequent car accident. How does this all work?  Let’s take a closer look. Negligent Inspection and Maintenance Basics Mechanics have a duty to properly inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles that have been entrusted to them (for such services).  If a mechanic fails to exercise reasonable care in inspecting a vehicle (and thereby fails to identify a defect), or performs a negligent repair using substandard parts, then that may give rise to liability in the event that it contributes to a car accident later on. It’s worth noting that a mechanic’s liability (for negligence) can generally be imposed on their employer, the auto repair shop, through the application of vicarious liability principles.  […]

Understanding the Standard of Care for Motorcyclists

Let Our Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Help If you are a motorcyclist who was injured due to the fault of another, then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and recover damages as compensation for the losses that you suffered as a result. Motorcycle accident litigation — not unlike other motor vehicle accident litigation — can become quite complicated when the facts are “messy.”  In some cases, the injured motorcyclist may not be entirely absent of fault.  It’s not uncommon for a motorcyclist to have acted negligently and thereby contributed to the accident in their own way. So, how does this affect the dispute?  Let’s dive in for a closer look. Comparative Fault in Arizona In Arizona, pure comparative fault rules apply.  What this means is that an injury plaintiff is not barred from recovering damages even if they have acted negligently (and this negligence has contributed to the injuries at-issue).  Instead, the plaintiff’s overall damages will be reduced in accordance with their fault contribution. For example, suppose that a plaintiff was hurt in a motorcycle accident and has suffered overall damages equivalent to about $100,000.  If the plaintiff is found 40 percent at-fault for their injuries, then they will be entitled to recover $100,000 minus $40,000, or $60,000 in total. As the plaintiff, it’s not only important that you “win” your case (i.e., negotiate a settlement or obtain a favorable verdict), but also that you secure the maximum possible compensation given the circumstances.  An effective litigation strategy […]

How the Defendant’s Hit and Run Affects Your Injury Claim

If you’ve been harmed in a car accident scenario in which the defendant-driver fled the scene of the accident — known colloquially as a “hit and run” — then you may be entitled to damages, though litigation may be more complicated than a standard car accident case.  In a hit and run lawsuit, there are a number of unique challenges and opportunities to keep in mind when considering the dispute process. Let’s take a closer look. Identifying the Defendant Perhaps the most significant problem facing injured plaintiffs in hit and run accidents is identifying the defendant in the wake of the accident.  If the defendant gets away without leaving a “trail,” then you might not have an opportunity to litigate your claims against them and obtain the compensation you deserve. Given the risk of a defendant successfully avoiding a lawsuit in a hit and run accident, it’s important to consult a skilled attorney as early as possible — your attorney will work with expert investigators and various stakeholders (i.e., law enforcement, businesses located near the accident) to secure evidence, such as video footage and traffic photos, to secure information that could be used to identify and track down the defendant. Implied Fault When the defendant flees the scene of the accident, they are painting themselves as the liable party, even if their negligence is questionable.  If you can identify the defendant-driver and bring an action against them, they will be fundamentally disadvantaged throughout the litigation process, as they must account […]

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