Statute of Limitations in Cases Involving Military Personnel

In cases involving active duty military personnel, such as a car accident or a barroom fight, a different analysis applies to review the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the period in which a lawsuit must be filed or the individual loses the ability to file a lawsuit for that action. The following is the analysis of cases involving active duty military personnel.

First, the general statute of limitations still applies. In most personal injury cases in California, this requires the filing of a lawsuit within two-years of the cause of action, injury, car accident, etc. However, beyond the general two-year time period, a number of special time periods exist for certain actions.

Second, that statute of limitations for the action is tolled during the individual’s period of military service. Tolling means that the statute of limitations period is paused and does not run. This is referred to as the tolling provision for military service personnel. Therefore, if you were to get into a car accident with an active duty individual in 2009; and he continued serving until 2012, the statute of limitations would not run during those three years in-between.

Third, this tolling occurs even if the cause of action occurred prior to the military service. Thus, in the above example, if you got into a car accident in 2009 with another civilian, and then that civilian enlisted in the military in 2010 until 2015, the statute of limitations would not run during that five-year enlistment period.

Fourth, this tolling provision applies in periods of peace and war, and the individual does not need to be stationed out of state, or out of the country, during their service.

Finally, this tolling provision applies automatically. The only thing which must be established is the period of military service.

An individual may always bring a lawsuit sooner, but this tolling provision allows for actions brought by and against military service personnel to be brought at a later time which accounts for the difficulties and complexities related to military service.

If you or your loved one is an active duty military personnel, or has been in an accident with an active duty military personnel, please contact experienced San Diego personal injury attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP.  Our personal injury attorneys are experienced in determining causation in a particular accident and may be able to offer insight into potentially culpable parties.  We don’t get paid until we recover compensation on your behalf, so call today for a free consultation.  San Diego 619-512-5995 or Riverside 951-200-4630.

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