Arizona statute of limitations contract is typically six years for breach of written contracts and three years for oral contracts. However, contracts can contain a provision for a shorter statute of limitation.

What Is Statute of Limitations?

A civil lawsuit must be filed within the time limit allowed by law. Most of the states have different time limits for filing different types of claims. These time limits are commonly known as the civil statute of limitations and are basically meant to maintain the integrity of associated evidence and testimony. The idea is to prevent plaintiffs from making a claim after the evidence ceases to be vital and to remove the fear of a lawsuit after a reasonably long time has elapsed since the occurrence of the event.

An injured party should either choose to file a case within a reasonable time permitted by law or do away with its right of seeking legal remedy. Once barred by the statute of limitations, you are no longer allowed to litigate the matter.

Criminal cases may also be barred by the statute of limitations and prosecutors may be prohibited from filing criminal cases after a certain period of time.

Computing the Time Limit for Statute of Limitations

Sometimes you may immediately realize that an injury has occurred, while at other times you may not know it for sure until a considerable time has elapsed. For example, an employee may come to know of workplace pollution years after exposure, like when he is diagnosed with cancer. Similarly, you may find out that you had been discriminated against in your organization several years after leaving the job.

A statute of limitations may provide that your time limit for initiating a legal proceeding begins from the date you realize or should have realized the injury, subject to an overall time limit beginning from the date of the event. For example, a statute may allow you to bring an action within two years from the date you (should have) come to know of the injury, but no longer than six years from the actual date of injury.

Under certain circumstances, the statute of limitations can also be paused or stopped for a certain period of time. This usually happens when the plaintiff is not legally capable of taking action — say, for instance, the plaintiff is a minor or mentally incompetent — at the time of injury.

You can also shorten the statute of limitations through a contract.

Arizona Statute of Limitations

Like any other state, Arizona has its own statute of limitations for different types of civil actions like defamation, trespassing, personal injury, and professional malpractice. For example, you cannot bring an action for personal injury in the state of Arizona after two years, or for defamation after one year.

In Arizona, the statute of limitations typically ranges between 180 days and six years for civil cases:

  • One year for false imprisonment and defamation (libel or slander)
  • Two years for injury to personal property, personal injury, negligence, professional malpractice, trespassing, product liability, assault and battery, and wrongful death
  • Three years for fraud, breach of oral contracts, and collection of debt on account
  • Four years for foreign judgment
  • Six years for breach of written contracts
  • 180 days for taking action against a public entity

Arizona doesn't impose any statute of limitations on collection of rents.

Arizona also has a criminal statute of limitations to limit the time for prosecuting someone on criminal charges, like felonies and misdemeanors.

The Discovery Rule

The limitation period typically begins to run from the date the cause of action arises, which is usually the date of injury. However, Arizona's statute of limitations provides for the discovery rule, which allows for a different accrual date under certain circumstances.

Under the discovery rule, instead of the actual date of injury, the limitation period begins from the date the plaintiff comes to know or should have known with due diligence, about the injury.

Statute of Limitations as a Defense

In a court case, it was held that the defense of the statute of limitations must be affirmatively pled; otherwise, it would be automatically considered as waived. If the allegations made in a lawsuit have conclusively lapsed under the statute of limitations, you can plead to dismiss the case. However, if you need to prove that the case is barred on the basis of the discovery rule, you should file a motion for summary judgment.

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