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Q&A: How long do out of state parties have to Answer a Complaint in Arizona?

Question:

I’m aware that parties have 20 calendar days to answer a complaint in Arizona, however, does that same time limit also apply to Defendants that were served out of state, or do out of state parties to a Complaint get 30 calendar days to file an Answer (assuming that there were no waivers filed at any point)? Also, if Defendants fail to Answer a complaint within the time limit and the Plaintiff files a motion for default entry, how does the Court determine the amount of damages in a personal injury case where the Plaintiff didn’t enter a specific amount (other than stating that the damages are appropriate for the jurisdiction)? Is there a default hearing to determine damages?

Answer:

Yes, you have 30 days per Rule 4.2(m), Ariz.R.Civ.Proc., to respond to a complaint when served outside the State of Arizona.

Yes, if the damages are not stating in the Complaint, and sometimes even when they are, the Court will hold a hearing to determine damages. It is not a “default hearing,” because by that time default will have already been established. It is simply a “damages hearing” where the plaintiff’s put on basic damages evidence and request a judgment for the specific amount. Unless it is contested, the Court will generally accept reasonable requests at these hearings.

Geoffry Trachtenberg
Levenbaum Trachtenberg
(602) 271-0183

Geoff Trachtenberg is a partner at Levenbaum Trachtenberg, a personal injury law firm located in Arizona, California, and Utah. You can find him on and Avvo discussing law and helping people with their legal needs.