What is the Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the deadline for filing a lawsuit or criminal charge against a person. The time varies according to what the claim or charge is. Statutes of limitations date back to early Roman Law and are designed to prevent fraudulent and stale claims from occurring after all evidence has been lost, or after the facts have become obscure through the passage of time, or the defective memory, death, or disappearance of witnesses.
The date the clock starts ticking is usually on the date the wrongful act occurred. For example, in a claim for damages as a result of a car accident arising from the other driver’s negligence, the deadline to file the lawsuit would be two years from the date of the crash. On the other hand, Arizona has a “discovery” rule that, for some cases, the clock does not start ticking until you knew or, with reasonable diligence, should have known, that the wrongful act occurred.
Arizona’s statutes of limitations for common civil (not criminal) causes of action are set forth below:
|Breach of Contract (when contract is in writing and executed in Arizona)||6 years|
|Breach of Contract (when contract is not in writing)||3 years|
|Breach of Employment Contract||1 year|
|Wrongful Termination||1 year|
|Product Liability||2 years|
|Libel or Slander||1 year|
|Trespass/Property Damage||2 years|
|Forcible Entry and Detainer||2 years|
|Claims Against a Public Entity/Public Employee||180 days|
|Statutory Causes of Action Other Than Penalty or Forfeiture||1 year|
|Actions in Which No Limitations Period is Prescribed (other than real property actions)||4 years|