Tolling the Statute of Limitations in Arizona

In Arizona, and elsewhere, the statute of limitations imposes a deadline on the injured plaintiff’s various claims.  When the applicable statute of limitations deadline passes, then the plaintiff’s claims expire, at which point the plaintiff is no longer entitled to sue and recover for damages in an Arizona court of law. For example, suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle collision.  Given the seriousness of your sustained injuries, however, you spend most of your post-accident time and energy attempting to physically rehabilitate and reintegrate into your old lifestyle/career.  As a result, you wait too long to file your claims and the statute of limitations deadline passes.  You will no longer be entitled to compensation. Importantly, the Arizona statute of limitations for injury claims — which runs for two years from the date of injury — allows for the suspension/extension of the deadline in certain circumstances.  This is known as “tolling.”  If the statute of limitations deadline has been tolled, then you may still have enough time to pursue litigation. Tolling on the Basis of the Discovery Rule Equitable tolling takes into consideration the possibility of a delayed discovery of one’s various injuries in the wake of an accident.  The application of the discovery rule is actually fairly straightforward, though many prospective plaintiffs are unaware of how it works.  Essentially, the statute of limitations period does not begin to run until the date that the plaintiff’s injuries are actually discovered, or until the date that the plaintiff’s injuries should […]

Suppressing Evidence in a Motor Vehicle Lawsuit to Your Advantage

In the state of Arizona, as in other states, both plaintiffs and defendants may prevent certain evidence from being introduced into the lawsuit, to their benefit.  An effective evidentiary strategy is critical to success in a motor vehicle lawsuit, or in any other civil lawsuit — personal injury or otherwise. Generally speaking, the defendant will attempt to introduce evidence that undermines your various claims.  For example, if you apologized to the defendant after the occurrence of a motor vehicle accident, the defendant may argue that this post-accident apology constituted an admission of fault, and that it is therefore relevant to the injury claims at-issue.  Alternatively, the defendant may attempt to introduce evidence of a statement made by a witness at the scene of the accident.  Depending on the circumstances, however, each of these statements may be suppressed (to your benefit). Evidentiary Privileges As the plaintiff in an Arizona motor vehicle accident lawsuit, you are likely to encounter a number of unexpected challenges in the evidentiary context.  Oftentimes, for example, the defendant will attempt to undermine your injury claims by asserting that they are “made up” or exaggerated in some way, perhaps by introducing evidence of your past psychiatric records with your therapist.  This is a broad overreach, however, unless you have made your mental health an issue in the lawsuit — the Arizona medical record privilege shields gives you the right to suppress the introduction of medical record evidence that is not relevant to the injury claims at-issue. Other evidentiary […]

Recovering Damages in an Intentional Collision

In Arizona, and elsewhere, motor vehicle accidents typically occur due to the negligent or reckless conduct of a defendant.  Of course, there are many cases in which the defendant has intentionally caused injuries to the defendant — such conduct falls within the umbrella of intentional torts, and may expose the defendant to civil liability for damages you suffered as a result, as well as criminal liability. Many injury plaintiffs are not familiar with the prospect of twin criminal and civil liability, and don’t quite realize how one affects the other.  Put simply, the fact that the defendant is currently engaged in — or will be engaged in — a criminal prosecution will have no bearing on your ability to recover damages in civil litigation.  Even if the defendant is found innocent in criminal litigation, it’s worth noting that criminal liability requires the satisfaction of a much stricter burden of proof (i.e., 99 percent certainty, as opposed to the 51 percent certainty required in civil litigation). Road rage is an unfortunate reality.  In the spur of the moment, many drivers lose their senses and engage in behaviors that are designed to frustrate another driver who they perceive to be doing something wrong.  Such conduct is unarguably intentional, and can expose others to a significantly heightened risk of harm. Intentional collisions give rise to unique considerations in the Arizona motor vehicle accident context, which an experienced Phoenix accident lawyer can use advantageously in litigation.  Consider the following. Intentional Misconduct and the Sliding […]

Personal Injury Claims in Arizona Must Be Filed by the Deadline

As the injured plaintiff — in Arizona and elsewhere — you should take note of the statute of limitations for your various claims.  The statute of limitations is of prime importance in every litigation (both civil and criminal!).  Essentially, the statute of limitations acts as a deadline for your injury claims. Do bear in mind that the statute of limitations deadline is a rather strict one.  If you do not file your claims before the deadline passes, then the claims will “expire” and you will no longer be entitled to sue and recover damages against the defendant on the basis of such claims.  As such, it’s absolutely vital that you connect with an attorney who will file your personal injury claims in a timely manner, and thereby avoid relinquishing your right to sue and recover damages in an Arizona court. In the Arizona personal injury context, the statute of limitations deadline is two years from the date the cause of action accrues.  This is a somewhat short period of time for such overwhelming tasks — during such time, you’ll have to begin the process of physical and psychological rehabilitation, reintegrate yourself into your career and social life, and more, in addition to identifying relevant injury claims and filing them before the deadline passes.  A sense of immediacy is therefore critical to effective personal injury litigation. When the Cause of Action Accrues Normally, the cause of action “accrues” on the date of injury.  Like many other states throughout the country, however, […]

Can You Hold an Auto Mechanic Liable for Your Injuries?

In Arizona, and elsewhere, auto mechanics can be held liable for injuries that are caused due to their negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct in handling your vehicle while it’s “in the shop.”  The strong possibility of auto mechanic liability in a motor vehicle accident scenario can come as something of a surprise to those who are not aware of how fault can be distributed to multiple defendants. Auto mechanics must act with reasonable care while your vehicle (or the defendant-driver’s vehicle) is in their possession.  Failure to adhere to the standard of care, given the circumstances, could result in the attachment of liability. Standard of Care The standard of care in any given situation is influenced by a number of factors.  The duty of reasonable care is not universal.  This applies to auto mechanics as well.  The standard of care will be influenced by factors that include, but are not necessarily limited, to: Training and experience of the mechanic Nature of the defect requiring repair Obviousness of the defect Cost and expectations relating to the repair Whether the owner/driver has been notified as to discovered defects And more For example, an auto mechanic who is conducting an inspection on a vehicle that has a non-obvious, extremely rare defect would not necessarily be negligent for failing to discover said defect.  An auto mechanic who fails to identify faulty brakes, on the other hand, would likely be found negligent for failing to do so. How Liability Falls on the Mechanic Auto mechanic […]

Actions to Take in an Emergency Situation

Motor vehicle accidents are by their very nature difficult-to-predict.  In some cases, a sudden and unexpected emergency can influence the ability of the defendant to predict the consequences of their actions and avoid an accident. For example, imagine a situation in which the defendant-driver is operating their vehicle on the highway and has a heart attack.  The driver — battling the sudden pain, spasms, and general loss of body control inflicted by the heart attack — swerves into your lane and collides with your vehicle, causing you to suffer significant injuries. Can you recover damages? There isn’t a simple yes-or-no answer that applies to all “sudden emergency” scenarios in the motor vehicle context, unfortunately.  Whether you can recover damages in a situation involving a sudden emergency is dependent largely on the circumstances at-issue — and more specifically, whether the driver acted with reasonable care given the emergency. Have you been involved in an accident and suffered injuries as a result?  You may be able to sue the defendant and obtain compensation, pursuant to Arizona law.  In the personal injury context, the person responsible for your injuries can make use of a number of defenses to escape liability.  To ensure that your claims are effectively litigated, make sure to consult with an experienced Arizona motor vehicle accident lawyer so that your lawsuit can be properly evaluated and filed. Arizona applies what is known as the “sudden emergency” doctrine to cases in which the defendant is rendered incapable of reacting in a […]