An Arizona civil action begins with filing a complaint with the superior court. Generally, the injured party does not need to provide the defendant with any advanced notice of the lawsuit prior to filing the Complaint. However, before filing a claim against a public entity, an injured person must provide the public entity with advanced notice (“Notice of Claim”). (Deer Valley Unified School Dist. No. 97 v. Houser (2007) 214 Ariz. 293.) This blog examines some basics for serving a Notice of Claim in Arizona.
Arizona’s Notice of Claim Statute
Arizona’s Notice of Claim statute requires the injured party to serve the Notice of Claim within 180 days of the date of the injury. (A.R.S. section 12-821.01.) In practice, this creates a procedural hurdle for the injured party to jump prior to the running of the applicable statute of limitations, which we discussed in a previous blog post. [Insert URL for previous Statute of Limitations Blog Post here] Importantly, the statute of limitations is reduced to one year from the date of injury for an injured person suing a public entity.
There are many strict Notice of Claim requirements. For example, a Notice of Claim must be served to the person(s) authorized to accept service from the public entity. (A.R.S. section 12-821.01.) Accordingly, it is incredibly important that the injured party not only submit the Notice of Claim but also assure that the Notice of Claim is properly served under the law. (Falcon ex rel. Sandoval v. Maricopa County (2006) 213 Ariz. 525 [Strict compliance with the Notice of Claim statute is required and if not fulfilled the claim will be barred].) The Notice of Claim must also include: 1) facts sufficient to permit the public entity to understand the basis of liability, 2) a specific dollar amount requested for settlement, and 3) facts supporting the amount requested. (Backus v. State (2009) 203 P.3d 499.)
Examples of public entities requiring notice under the Notice of Claim statute include:
- Public Schools and Public School Employees;
- The Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District;
- Police Departments and Law Enforcement Officers;
- Local Governments such as the City of Phoenix, City of Tucson or City of Yuma
The public policy behind the Notice of Claim requirements is to allow the public entity to investigate and assess liability before the lawsuit is brought. (Backus v. State (2009) 220 Ariz. 101 [Thereby encouraging the possibility of settlement before taxpayer money is spent on litigation].)
Contact the Karnas Law Firm today
If you have suffered a personal injury at the hands of a public entity or a person working for a public entity, you must comply with the Notice of Claim requirements. This blog post only discusses a few basics. The Notice of Claim requirements are highly technical, and it is crucial to fulfilling them to avoid losing your claim. The attorneys at Karnas Law Firm have years of experience helping injured persons prepare their Notice of Claim and litigating cases against public entities. Contact Karnas Law Firm for your free consultation today.
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