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Please note that Attorney Bruzonsky has been doing this regular “Liens Corner” column since April 2006. His last “Liens Corner” article was for the November/December 2017 issue of The Advocate, having stepped down from this regular column, as he now works part-time (and is part-time retired) exclusively handling large subrogation/lien claims in very large personal injury and medical malpractice cases for other attorneys. However, attorney Bruzonsky may add notes to this website under the subject lien article headers from time to time. (Please keep in mind that this site contains general information for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advise, which can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiair with all the facts and circumstances of your specific case and relevant law.) 

 

 

2014-09/10: AHCCCS & State or Political Subdivision Lien Statutes of Limitations

June 25th, 2016 12:13:45 pm


This article has been published in “The Advocate”, a monthly publication of the Arizona Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, September – October 2014 issue, @2014 by Steven J. Bruzonsky, Esq.

 

 

 

The Statutes of Limitations for AHCCCS & Arizona State and Political Subdivision Liens

 

 

AHCCCS Liens Statutes of Limitations:

 

In regard to AHCCCS liens under A.R.S. §§12-961 to 12-964, which require the filing of a lien and which are against liability claims only:

 

As A.R.S. §12-962 subrogates the agency to the injured party’s rights, this permits the agency to intervene or join in any action as well as to sue the third party directly, so the applicable Arizona Statute of Limitations which applies to the injured party would apply to the AHCCCS lien as well, e.g., A.R.S. §12-542 two year Statute of Limitations for negligence and medical malpractice.

 

As ARS §12-962(A) subrogates AHCCCS to the injured party’s rights, this permits AHCCCS to intervene or join in any action as well as to sue the third party directly, so the applicable Arizona Statute of Limitations which applies to the injured party would apply to the AHCCCS lien as well, e.g., ARS §12-542 two year Statute of Limitations for negligence and medical malpractice.

 

Also, ARS §12-962(B) provides that the agency may file its own action in state or federal court against the tortfeasor,”(i)f an action or proceeding is not brought by the injured or diseased person, or the person's guardian, personal representative, estate, dependents or survivors within six months after the first day on which the medical care and treatment were furnished”.

 

In regard to AHCCCS liens under A.R.S. §§36-2915 or 36-2956, which do not require the filing of a lien and which are against liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist claims:

 

An A.R.S. §§36-2915 or §36-2956 lien must be timely filed and perfected, pursuant to A.R.S. §36-2915, “before or within sixty days from the date of notification to the administration of the hospital discharge or rendering of medical care and treatment”; and pursuant to A.R.S. §36-2916, the Statute of Limitations is “two years after the entry of the judgment or the making of the settlement or compromise.”

 

Note that the Federal Medicaid statutes, 42 USC §1396(a) and §1396(k), more specifically the lien provisions at 42 USC §1396(a)(25) and 42 USC §1396k(b), do not include specific time limits or Statutes of Limitations. It is unclear whether the  Federal Medicaid portion of the AHCCCS lien relies upon the state Statute of Limitations, or whether there is a federal Statute of Limitations or period of limitations which applies.

 

28 USC §2415(b) provides that actions brought by the United States founded upon a tort have a three year limitation “after the right of action first accrues”, while  28 USC §2415(a)  allows six years for claims grounded upon any contract express or implied in law or fact. To further complicate matters, 28 USC §2415(c) states:  “For purposes of computing the limitations periods in section 2415, there shall be excluded all periods during which . . . facts material to the right of action are not known and reasonably could not be known by an official of United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances.”  Therefore, if the government does not know all of the material facts as to settlements or verdicts, the statute may not even begin to run.

 

Arizona Revised Statutes, Chapter 5 “LIMITATIONS OF ACTIONS” sets forth various Statutes of Limitations under Arizona law. A.R.S. §12-510 states that “the state shall not be barred by the limitations of actions prescribed in this chapter.” The only exception, “Except as provided in section 12-529”, clearly does not pertain to lien or subrogation claims. However, the A.R.S. §12-510 exemption for the State in regard to the limitation of actions clearly does not apply to AHCCCS liens because the authority for AHCCCS liens are from the Arizona  Revised Statutes, Title 12, Chapter 7 (A.R.S. §§12-961 to 12-964) and Title 36, Chapter 29 (A.R.S. §§36-2915 and §36-2956).

 

Arizona State and Political Subdivision Liens Statutes of Limitations:

 

As ARS §12-962(A) subrogates the agency to the injured party’s rights, this permits the agency to intervene or join in any action as well as to sue the third party directly, so the applicable Arizona Statute of Limitations which applies to the injured party would apply to the lien as well, e.g., ARS §12-542 two year Statute of Limitations for negligence and medical malpractice.

 

Also, ARS §12-962(B) provides that the agency may file its own action in state or federal court against the tortfeasor,”(i)f an action or proceeding is not brought by the injured or diseased person, or the person's guardian, personal representative, estate, dependents or survivors within six months after the first day on which the medical care and treatment were furnished”.

 

Arizona Revised Statutes, Chapter 5 “LIMITATIONS OF ACTIONS” sets forth various Statutes of Limitations under Arizona law. A.R.S. §12-510 states that “the state shall not be barred by the limitations of actions prescribed in this chapter.” The only exception, “Except as provided in section 12-529”, clearly does not pertain to lien or subrogation claims. However, the A.R.S. §12-510 exemption for the State in regard to the limitation of actions clearly does not apply to Arizona state or political subdivision liens because the authority for such liens is from the Arizona  Revised Statutes, Title 12, Chapter 7 (A.R.S. §§12-961 to 12-964).



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