A Statue of limitations refers to the period of time an injured individual has to file a personal injury civil lawsuit for recovery of damages from an at fault party. Most civil matters, (cases handled in civil court rather than criminal court) must be filed within a certain time period delineated by statutes specific to where the injury and thus the trial is to take place. Personal injury matters involving law enforcement often include accidents with police cars and sheriffs cruisers, police brutality and civil rights violations including inappropriate use of firearms and restraints resulting in serious injuries, and police k9 dog bites. Failure to File in Time: Individuals who do not file a personal injury claim within the statutorily allotted time period will lose their right to seek justice for the harm and damages they incurred due to law enforcement actions.
Statute of Limitations For Filing a Lawsuit Against Law Enforcement Including Police CHP or Sheriff DepartmentPolice department are government agencies and as such are generally immune from civil liability and lawsuits, but recently states have provided for a partial waiver of immunity in cases involving personal injury claims. Claims against government agencies including police, CHP (California Highway Patrol), county sheriffs or any other type of law enforcement agency in the state must first go through an administrative hearing process which must be filed within 180 days from the date of the accident or injury. Denial of Compensation During Administrative Hearing: If and when a claim made with a government agency is denied an individual claimant has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim in civil court. Are there any Exceptions: In some circumstances court will waive or toll a statute of limitations. Examples of instances where courts have granted a tolling of the statute include
- Injury to minor under the age of 18 – the statute is tolled until the two years from the date of a victims 18th birthday
- Mental or physical incapacitation of the victim
- Injury did not present itself – was not and could not be known until sometime after the accident or initial incident took place