Arizona Revised Statute 12-821.01 requires that any person with a claim against a public entity or employee file a Notice of Claim with the individual authorized to accept service on behalf of the public entity or employee. Notices of Claim must be filed within 180 days after the injury occurred. If a Notice of Claim is not filed within 180 days, any claim against the public entity or employee is barred and can never be litigated. In addition, the Notice of Claim must include sufficient information to put the public entity on notice of the basis for liability, as well as a specific amount for which the claim can be settled.
Serving a Notice of Claim is not the filing of a lawsuit. It merely informs government agencies and public entities of the possibility of a lawsuit, as well as the amount that the claim can be settled for before moving on to litigation. However, the Notice of Claim requirement does require an injured party to act quickly in asserting any claims against a government agency or public entity. While the Notice of Claim requirement does not technically change the time period for filing a lawsuit, it essentially has that effect because failure to file a Notice of Claim bars any later lawsuits.
This is different from traditional lawsuits against private individuals, because the only requirement in those cases is that the lawsuit needs to be filed in court before the two year period has expired. Unlike cases against private individuals and corporations, injured parties that bring claims against government agencies only have 180 days to file their claim. Provided that the Notice of Claim requirement is met, an injured party is permitted to file a lawsuit 60 days after the Notice of Claim is served upon the government agency or public entity.
We represent clients throughout the state of Arizona and are ready to assist you through this difficult time. If you or a loved one was in an accident caused by a government agency or public entity, please call the Law Offices of Michael Cordova at 602-265-6700. Our Phoenix Accident Lawyers offer a free, personal, and confidential consultation to answer any questions and to explain your rights.