WHAT IS A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS? Statutes of limitations are laws that set time restrictions to properly file a civil suit, like a personal injury lawsuit. A statute of limitations is the time you have to commence a formal legal action. Consider this the ultimate deadline. The best advice is the *consult a highly experienced lawyer to represent you and determine this deadline in order to protect your rights.* These time limits usually depend on the nature of the legal claims, the type of defendant, and vary significantly from state to state. For example, in some states you may have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in a car accident, but in other states you may have one or two years, and the time frame maybe shorter if the party non-profit entity, or a federal, state, or municipal government. WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IN SOUTH CAROLINA? This is a very good question, and a difficult question to correctly answer without considering many factors, such as the type of cause of action, type of claim, the parties involved, jurisdiction, and whether you complied with certain pre-conditions in the law. The law in South Carolina regarding the statute of limitations is complex and confusing. The Statutes of Limitations are created by the South Carolina General Assembly but interpreted by the federal and state courts in South Carolina. Most of the civil statutes of limitations are found in Title 15, Chapter 3 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, which can be accessed here: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t15c003.php WHEN DOES THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS BEGIN IN SOUTH CAROLINA? An important question is "when does the statute of limitations start?" Were you injured in a car or truck accident? If so, the statute of limitations for an automobile or truck accident occurs on the date of the incident. However, the answer may not be as clear in other types of claims, such a medical malpractice, legal malpractice, civil conspiracy, false arrests, contract cases, or business torts. South Carolina follows the "discovery rule" to determine when the statute of limitations begins. WHAT IS THE DISCOVERY RULE IN SOUTH CAROLINA? Under the discovery rule in South Carolina, the statute of limitations begins to run from the date the injured party either knows or should know, by the exercise of reasonable diligence, that a cause of action exists for the wrongful conduct. Epstein v. Brown, 363 S.C. 372; 610 S.E.2d 816 (S.C. 2005) (citing S.C.Code Ann. ? 15-3-535). The exercise of reasonable diligence means simply that an injured party must act with some promptness where the facts and circumstances of an injury would put a person of common knowledge and experience on notice that some right of his has been invaded or that some claim against another party might exist. The law is clear that the statute of limitations begins to run from this point and not when advice of counsel is sought or a full-blown theory of recovery developed. Stated differently, under ? 15-3-535, the statute of limitations is triggered not merely by knowledge of an injury but by knowledge of facts, diligently acquired, sufficient to put an injured person on notice of the existence of a cause of action against another. True v. Monteith, 327 S.C. 116, 120, 489 S.E.2d 615, 617 (S.C. 1997). Based on this rule, the statute of limitations may rule before the injured party may "comprehend the full extent of the damage is immaterial." Dean v. Ruscon Corp., 321 S.C. 360, 364, 468 S.E.2d 645, 647 (S.C. 1996). WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS? The purpose of the statute of limitation is to help defendants and limit the number cases. The statute of limitation does not allow you to sleep on your rights. In Moates v. Bobb, 322 S.C. 172, 176, 470 S.E.2d 402, 404 (S.C. Ct. App. 1996), the South Carolina Court of Appeals explained: Statutes of limitations are not simply technicalities. On the contrary, they have long been respected as fundamental to a well-ordered judicial system. 54 C.J.S. Limitations of Actions ? 2, at 16-17 (1989). Statutes of limitations embody important public policy considerations in that they stimulate activity, punish negligence, and promote repose by giving security and stability to human affairs. 51 Am. Jur. 2d, Limitation of Actions ? 18, at 603 (1970). One purpose of a statute of limitations is to relieve the courts of the burden of trying stale claims when a plaintiff has slept on his rights. McKinney v. CSX Transp., Inc., 298 S.C. 47, 49-50, 378 S.E.2d 69, 70 (S.C. Ct. App. 1989). Another purpose of a statute of limitations is to protect potential defendants from protracted fear of litigation. 51 Am. Jur. 2d Limitation of Actions 17, at 602-03 (1970). WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR PERSONAL INJURY, SUCH AS A CAR ACCIDENT? Generally, three (3) years in South Carolina based on S.C. Code Section 15-3-530(5). WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR FALSE ARREST, FALSE IMPRISONMENT, SLANDER, DEFAMATION, AND LIBEL? 2 years based on S.C. Code Section 15-3-550(1)
A statute of limiations is an enactment that sets forth the maximum time after a civil event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated. Assault and Battery - 2 years Contract - 4 years False Imprisonment - 2 years Fraud - 2 years Enforcing Court Judgments - 4 years Legal Malpractice - 2 years Libel - 1 year Medical Malpractice - 2 years Personal Injury - 2 years Product Liablity - 2 years Property Damage - 2 years Slander - 1 year Trespass - 2 years Wrongful Death - 2 years
Intentional Torts Intentional torts are any intentional acts that are reasonably foreseeable to cause harm to an individual, and that do so. Intentional torts have several subcategories: Torts against the person include assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. Property torts involve any intentional interference with the property rights of the claimant (plaintiff). Those commonly recognized include trespass to land, trespass to chattels (personal property), and conversion. An intentional tort requires an overt act, some form of intent, and causation. In most cases, transferred intent, which occurs when the defendant intends to injure an individual but actually ends up injuring another individual, will satisfy the intent requirement. Causation can be satisfied as long as the defendant was a substantial factor in causing the harm.
Torts may be categorized in several ways: one such way is to divide them into Negligence, Intentional Torts, and Quasi-Torts. The standard action in tort is negligence. The tort of negligence provides a cause of action leading to damages, or to relief, in each case designed to protect legal rights, including those of personal safety, property, and, in some cases, intangible economic interests. Negligence actions include claims coming primarily from car accidents and personal injury accidents of many kinds, including clinical negligence, worker's negligence and so forth. Product liability cases, such as those involving warranties, may also be considered negligence actions, but there is frequently a significant overlay of additional lawful content. Intentional torts include, among others, certain torts arising from the occupation or use of land. The tort of nuisance, for example, involves strict liability for a neighbor who interferes with another's enjoyment of his real property. Trespass allows owners to sue for entrances by a person (or his structure, such as an overhanging building) on their land. Several intentional torts do not involve land. Examples include false imprisonment, the tort of unlawfully arresting or detaining someone, and defamation (in some jurisdictions split into libel and slander), where false information is broadcast and damages the plaintiff's reputation. In some cases, the development of tort law has spurred lawmakers to create alternative solutions to disputes. For example, in some areas, workers' compensation laws arose as a legislative response to court rulings restricting the extent to which employees could sue their employers in respect of injuries sustained during employment. In other cases, legal commentary has led to the development of new causes of action outside the traditional common law torts. These are loosely grouped into quasi-torts or liability torts.
A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong. Tort law deals with situations where a person's behaviour has unfairly caused someone else to suffer loss or harm. A tort is not necessarily an illegal act but causes harm. The law allows anyone who is harmed to recover their loss. Tort law is different from criminal law, which deals with situations where a person's actions cause harm to society in general. A claim in tort may be brought by anyone who has suffered loss after suing a civil law suit. Criminal cases tend to be brought by the state, although private prosecutions are possible. Tort law is also differentiated from equity, in which a petitioner complains of a violation of some right. One who commits a tortious act is called a tortfeasor. The equivalent of tort in civil law jurisdictions is delict. Tort may be defined as a personal injury; or as "a civil action other than a breach of contract." A person who suffers a tortious injury is entitled to receive compensation for "damages", usually monetary, from the person or people responsible — or liable — for those injuries. Tort law defines what is a legal injury and, therefore, whether a person may be held liable for an injury they have caused. Legal injuries are not limited to physical injuries. They may also include emotional, economic, or reputational injuries as well as violations of privacy, property, or constitutional rights. Tort cases therefore comprise such varied topics as auto accidents, false imprisonment, defamation, product liability (for defective consumer products), copyright infringement, and environmental pollution ( toxic torts), among many others. In much of the common law world, the most prominent tort liability is negligence. If the injured party can prove that the person believed to have caused the injury acted negligently – that is, without taking reasonable care to avoid injuring others – tort law will allow compensation. However, tort law also recognizes intentional torts, where a person has intentionally acted in a way that harms another, and "strict liability" or quasi-tort, which allows recovery under certain circumstances without the need to demonstrate negligence.
Illegal deprivation of another's freedom is false imprionment "false imprisonment" in Las Vegas, Nevada, is "an unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another, and consists in confinement or detention without sufficient legal authority." (NRS 200.460) In other words, false imprisonment is any illegal reduction of another's freedom of movement. False imprisonment may occur indoors, outdoors or in a moving vehicle, and it does not require the use of weapons or threats. False imprionment does not occur when probable cause that the imprisoned person commited a crime exists Roughed up and falsely imprisoned by security guards LAS VEGAS - A patron who had spent thousands of dollars in the club was roughed up and falsely imprisoned by security guards from Tao nightclub, prior to being handed over to metro. A Clark County District Court jury awarded damages for false imprisonment, battery, defamation, and trespass to chattels. The trespass to chattels was for going through the victim's wallet. District Court case number 06-A-530243-C related issues in this kind of case also often relate to slander and assault and battery. Often in these cases no criminal charges are ever made or filed against the patron. Advantage gambler falsely imprisoned by security guards false arrest, false imprisonment, and related ? 1983 claims hinge on an allegation that a wrong doer lacked probable cause to arrest the imprisoned person. Probable cause to arrest exists when police have reasonably trustworthy information of facts and circumstances that are sufficient in themselves to warrant a person of reasonable caution to believe that [a crime] has been . . . committed by the person to be arrested." Often in these cases Metro becomes involved, and arrests the patron for trespassing, on falsified or embellished information by one or more of the guards. Guards appear to have grossly overreacted to a petty situation-$200,000 jury verdict A police officer who uses more force than is reasonably necessary to effect a lawful arrest commits a battery upon the person arrested. Ex.: guards made a dubious citizen's arrest, and, chained the patron to the floor of the security room. The patron, prior to being arrested by the private-citizen security guard, had offered to leave the premises, but refused to allow the guards access to his paid-for room On the other hand"discomfort" and "embarrassment" fail to show damages for wich an award may be made. Hotel operations are subject to the laws and regulations in Las Vegas just like everyone else Many casino managers somehow believe that their hotel operations are not subject to the laws and regulations that apply to everyone. Las Vegas jurys often set these bullies straight. Hotels are not "above the law" in Las Vegas. False arrest, false imprisonment, and the breach of innkeeper's duties are often vidicated by the law. Racial overtones often appear to be involved in these cases. Hotel employees must use common sense, rather then just charge a patron with trespassing, based on falsified or embellished information and then detain the "trespassing" patron.
Representing children who have been injured is considerably different than representing adults. Regardless of how seriously a child has been injured, no minor wants to sue a friend, a friend's parents, a neighbor, or a teacher. Even more challenging, children are not as articulate as adults, especially when the minor has suffered post traumatic stress from his or her injuries. A. TYPES OF INJURIES TO CHILDREN Children can suffer serious injuries in countless ways. 1. Motor vehicle accidents Children are more likely than adults to suffer a severe injury in an automobile accident, because their small bodies cannot efficiently absorb and dissipate a physical impact. Stewart A. Sutton has successfully represented numerous minors who have been injured in vehicular accidents as both passengers and pedestrians. 2. School Children are often injured at school, because they spend much of their waking hours at educational institutions a. Classroom In a class room, a teacher can violate a student's right to privacy by disclosing confidential medical information. Stewart A. Sutton successfully represented a minor whose HIV condition was disclosed by a Montgomery County public school teacher, because the teacher incorrectly believed that AIDS could be transmitted by sharing lip balm. b. Recess Each year, countless students are injured in playground fights. Teachers can be held liable for their failure to properly police the playground to stop fights between students. Besides physical injuries, it is common for a child who has been hurt in a school yard fight to suffer post traumatic stress symptoms. c. Physical education classes Many children are excused from participating in physical education due to medical conditions, such as asthma. Unfortunately, it is all too common that these children suffer exertion related injuries when their physical education teachers coerce them to participate in strenuous physical exercise. d. Playground equipment The school has a duty to properly maintain playground equipment and to supervise the children's proper use of the equipment under the doctrine of loco parentis. 3. Sleepover parties When parents hosts a sleepover party, the parent expressly assume the responsibility of caring for their under aged overnight guests. Stewart A. Sutton has successfully represented a child who broke her ankle at sleepover parties due to the failure of the hosts to properly supervise the use of a trampoline. He also has successfully represented the parents of 2 children who died in a house fire in Gaithersburg, Maryland during an overnight sleepover when candles were used during a power outage. 4. Pools and hot tubs Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among kids ages 1 to 14. An adult host's duty to supervise minor guests' use of a pool or spa is inversely proportional to the child's age. 5. Dog bites Thousands of children are wounded and scarred each year by dog bites. They are usually bitten by a neighbor or friend's dog. Stewart A. Sutton successfully represented a girl who was bitten on the face at a friend's house by the family dog. 6. Daycare Centers Children are frequently injured at daycare centers due to understaffing and/or misuse of playground equipment. Stewart A. Sutton successfully represented a 5-year girl who finger was partially severed at a daycare center. The child was riding inside a wooden carriage that was being pushed by another child. The child's finger was crushed between the side of the carriage and an outdoor post. The daycare center was liable for the child's injuries, because the wooden carriage was never designed for outdoor use. 7. Babysitters Stewart A. Sutton represented a mother whose son suffered disfiguring third degree burns when his babysitter held the child's hand in a pot of boiling water. The babysitter pled guilty to assault, battery, and cruelty to a minor; and she is serving a long prison sentence. 8. Psychiatric Hospitals When a child is hospitalized to treat mental illness or substance abuse, the hospital's foremost duty is to protect the minor from harming himself or herself as well as protecting the child from other patients. Stewart A. Sutton has successfully represent a minor who was harmed as a result of the hospital's failure to properly monitor the minor patient. 9. False arrest and false imprisonment Security guards often stop and detain children, despite the lack of probable cause to believe that the child committed a felony or breached the peace. Stewart A. Sutton has sued security guards firms for falsely arresting and imprisoning children. B. DAMAGES When a child suffers an injury, the child and the parent can recover 3 types of compensatory damages. 1. Medical and hospital bills The parents are entitled to recover the child's medical and hospital bills, because the parents are responsible for providing medical care for their children. Even if the child has insurance, the parents are still entitled to be reimbursed for their child's healthcare expenditures. 2. Pain and suffering, including mental and emotional distress Anytime a child is physically injured, the child is entitled to compensation for his or her pain and suffering. The minor is also entitled to be compensated for his or her mental and emotional distress in situations where there has not been a physical impact, such as when a teacher discloses the child's confidential medical condition. 3. Lost Wages If the child's injuries prevents him or her from working at a regular job, the child can recover his or her loss income. If the child suffers a permanent injury, the child may be entitled to his projected future lost wages. C. WRONGFUL DEATH OF A CHILD For a wrongful death of a child, parents can collect damages for their own emotional distress as well as for their child's pre-death pain and suffering. As of October 1, 2011, the total amount of emotional distress (also known as non-economic damages) is capped at $1,113,500 in Maryland; and this amount increases by $22,500 on October 1st of each succeeding year. For unmarried child between the ages of 18 and 21, the parents can recover their emotional distress damages as long as the parents provided more than half (50%) of child's support within 12 months before the child died. As of October 1, 2011, the total damages the child's estate can recover for pre-death pain and suffering is capped at $755,000 in Maryland; and this amount increases by $15,000 on October 1st of each succeeding year. The parents are also entitled to repayment of their child's medical and up to $5,000 in funeral expenses. D. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS Adults have 3-years to file suit to recover for their personal injuries. This is known as a statute of limitations. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for minors extends to the day before their twenty-first birthday. However, it is a better practice for a parent to file a lawsuit on behalf of their child as soon as practical. Otherwise, memories of the accident will fade and documentation of the child's medical treatment and bills may be difficult to find. When one parent has sole custody of the minor, the custodial parent has the exclusive right to file suit on behalf of the minor for a period of 1-year after the accident. If the custodial parent does not file suit, the non-custodial parent or any other adult can file suit on the child's behalf in the capacity of the child's best friend. E. COURT'S APPROVAL OF A SETTLEMENT Over 90% of all personal injury lawsuits are resolved by the parties entering into a settlement. In Maryland, it is a common practice for the parties to ask the Court to approve the settlement as being in the child's best interest and then having the court enter a consent judgment for the amount of the settlement. F. SETTLEMENT AND JUDGMENT PROCEEDS When a minor receives more than $5,000 as a result of a settlement or judgment, the parents are required to deposit the proceeds into a protected trust account. The child may withdraw the money from the protected trust account when he or she turns 18, or if the Court approves a withdrawal prior to the child reaching the age of 18 upon a showing of good cause. Seventy percent (70%) of the child's protected trust fund must be invested in zero risk obligations, such as AAA- or AA-rated government bonds, Treasury Notes, or CDs. Only 30% may be invested in a mutual stock fund or money market fund, as long as the prospectus of the fund states that its objective is long-term growth or capital appreciation.
To recover for personal injuries, it is necessary to understand negligence law, sometimes called "Tort" law by legal professors and authors. Negligence cases involve civil wrongdoing, as opposed to criminal conduct, and are separated from breach of contract cases. If negligence is established, courts of law will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages. Negligence law is distinguished from crime, breach of contract, usually is separated from property rights and cases in which injunctions or other "equitable remedies" are sought. In most negligence cases, an injured person, called the plaintiff once a law suit is filed, is awarded money damages from some person, or some corporation, if the elements of negligence are established. Major areas of negligence law include: Motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog bites, medical malpractice, products liability, wrongful death, defamation (libel or slander), intentional wrongs against a person: assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, wrongs involving tangible property: conversion, "trespass to chattels", wrongs against real property: nuisance against nearby landowner, trespass on land, wrongs against a business: "unfair competition" or trademark infringement, dignitary harms against a person, such as invasion of privacy: intrusion on seclusion, unreasonable publicity given to private life, publicity placing person in false light, and civil rights violations either under state law or the federal civil rights statute, 42 USC ? 1983. In conclusion, the distinguishing feature between negligence cases and other legal matters is that negligence seeks money damages. No one goes to jail, as happens in a criminal case, and no one is ordered to do or not do anything, as happens in equitable cases. Negligence is a civil remedy for a civil wrong.
The California Accident Injury Statute of Limitations is contained in Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. It applies to accident cases, injury claims and wrongful death situations. This is the statute that tells how long, i.e., how many years a person has to file a lawsuit and sue someone who has negligently caused an injury to or death of another in an accident. Those cases to which this statute applies include accidents of all kinds - auto, truck, motorcycle, bike, car, pedestrian, bicycle, slip and falls, dog bites and wrongful deaths. The statute is also applicable to actions for assault and battery caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another and to actions for defective products, also known as product liability cases. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 provides: 335.1. Within two years: An action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another. The statute thus means that an individual has only two years in which to file a lawsuit for their damages resulting from a personal injury or wrongful death. When the statutory time, in this case, two years, has passed, a person loses the right to file a lawsuit for their damages or other relief. When does the statutory time period start to run? Normally a statute of limitations starts on the date of the injury. However, there can be exceptions to the rule, for instance in medical malpractice cases. General exceptions to the rule include the following. If the party at fault for the accident is a public entity such as a city, county, state, school, or public transport service, just to give a few examples, a claim must be made against the public entity within 6 months. There are additional time limitations in which to file a lawsuit after a public entity denies the 6 month claim. There are also different time periods for cases based upon exposure to asbestos. The statute of limitations can also be tolled (stopped from running for some period of time) if the injured person was not mentally competent at the time of the accident but this does not mean that because an injured person was hospitalized, on medication or drunk or even unconscious for some time that the statute will be extended in these circumstances. Minors have a longer period of time to sue. The statute is extended for minors and they may bring an action for a period of time after their 18th birthday. To be safe, any such lawsuits should be filed by the injured person who was a minor at the time of their accident, within one year after their 18th birthday if it has not been filed previously by the parents of the minor. Also to be safe, any claims against public entities should still be filed by the parents of the minor within 6 months of the accident. Although many attorneys believe that a minor has two years after their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit due to the change in the statute of limitations for adults some years ago, our advice is not to wait that long in case the statute is applied oddly by some court down the road, especially to accidents occurring prior to the change in the statute. There are different statutes of limitations which apply to medical malpractice cases and the rules for minors in such cases are also different. As our law firm does not specialize in medical malpractice, it is best to consult with a medical malpractice attorney regarding those statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations is also different for cases involving childhood sexual abuse and cases involving libel, slander, false imprisonment, fraud and the many other non-tort areas of law, such as in contract and real estate actions, debt collections and in criminal cases. A claim for damages for a personal injury, such as an auto accident, can, of course be made at any time after an accident to an insurance company or the person who caused the injury. However, if the matter has not been settled before the period of time in the statute - two years, the right of the injured person to be paid for their injuries and to file a lawsuit will be extinguished. As an example, if a person notifies an insurance company of their injuries soon after an accident but the matter is not settled by the time the two year period is up and no lawsuit is filed by the individual within the two years, the insurance company will have no obligation to pay the injured person, even though a claim was made and even if there were negotiations, if there was no settlement. Due to how insurance companies treat individuals without an attorney, however, a person injured in an auto accident should always retain an attorney to represent them at the earliest possible date after an accident. Unless you haven’t been injured and won’t be needing medical treatment, an experienced and reputable personal injury lawyer will almost always be able to obtain a considerably larger settlement from an insurance company and a larger amount for you, even after the attorney’s fees and costs are paid.
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are responsible for providing appropriate care to their patients, who are often fragile and vulnerable. While such medical providers are primarily concerned with the proper diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, they may also be held responsible for protecting the patient from harm, including possible suicide, as well as harm or injury to the general public. Some of the most common examples of psychiatric malpractice include: Incorrect diagnosis or failure to recognize inter-related disorders Excessive or insufficient medication dosage Failure to recognize decline in psychiatric condition Failure to adequately supervise patient inclined to harm self or others False imprisonment - holding a patient against their will Violating patient's right to privacy Physical abuse or exploitation Sexual relations with a patient Negligent use of psychotherapy
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