What is a Notice of Claim in a Civil Lawsuit? | Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm

What is a Notice of Claim in a Civil Lawsuit?

Jody L. Broaddus

Arizona, like most states, has limitations as to when the Arizona government, municipalities, public entities, and public employees can be liable for injuries and damages resulting from their wrongful acts. Many people are unaware of Arizona’s Notice of Claim statute, A.R.S. § 12-821.01, which contains specific requirements that must be met if someone intends to assert a claim against an Arizona public entity or employee. Here is some important information you need to know if you are considering making a claim for personal injuries or civil rights violations under the Arizona Constitution against any Arizona public entity or employee.

Deadlines – A person who has a claim against a public entity, public school, or public employee must file a Notice of Claim within 180 days from the date of the injury. Failure to timely file a Notice of Claim may forever bar the person from pursuing the claim or bringing a lawsuit. The governmental entity or employee has 60 days to respond, and the claim is automatically deemed denied if they do not respond. If the Notice of Claim requirement is satisfied within 180 days, there is also a one-year time limitation in which a lawsuit can be filed. If a Notice of Claim is not filed within 180 days, no lawsuit can be filed.

Service – A Notice of Claim is not actually “filed” with any court. Rather, the term “filing” means the Notice of Claim must be served with the person or persons authorized to accept service for the public entity, public school, or public employee. In general, a registered process server, sheriff, and sheriff’s deputy are authorized to serve a Notice of Claim. Mailing, even if by certified mail, is insufficient to comply with service requirements. Further, if a public employee is named in the Notice of Claim, the Notice of Claim must personally be served on that employee. Serving the employer does not constitute service on the employee unless the employee has specifically authorized the employer to accept service.

Content – A Notice of Claim must contain facts sufficient to permit the public entity, public school, or public employee to understand the basis on which liability is claimed. To comply with this requirement, the Notice of Claim should identify all persons subject to the claim, the background facts, the basis for liability, and the injuries and damages sustained by the person making the claim. Also, the Notice of Claim must contain a specific amount for which the claim can be settled and the facts supporting that amount.

Please note that there are other laws and regulations as to asserting claims under federal law and claims against the federal government, its agencies, and its employees. You should immediately consult with an attorney if you are considering asserting a claim against any governmental entity to ensure your rights are protected.

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