No justice for innocent bystander?

by Tracie
(Sacramento, CA)

I was a third party bystander who was injured in what I would call a home invasion assault. The 2 men who did this were neighbors. They came onto the property with intentions to harm a gentleman whose company I was in. This was my second time ever visiting this residence.

The reason I was at the residence this particular day was to do laundry. Once it was known the 2 men trespassed, I locked the door to the bedroom I was in with my friend for our protection. The men stood outside the door threatening to kick it open. After several threats, they kicked the door open and began assaulting the man who's room I was doing laundry in.

It was a very small room and at some point I became trapped underneath the men who were fighting with each other. I told them to get off of me and one man grabbed a bat and purposely hit me on the head with it. Once the men let me get from underneath them, the man who hit me proceeded to choke me and threaten to hit me again, while standing in the doorway blocking me from leaving the room so I could tend to my injury.

Then the other gentleman took me to the bathroom and gave me a wet rag for my injury. Then he went back into the bedroom and continued arguing with my friend. During this time they began fighting again and my friend stabbed the man assaulting him in self defense.

After this, my friend left the residence and the two men went back to their house where the one man was found by paramedics and law enforcement. That man and I were taken to the hospital by ambulance for our injuries. The police took my statement while I sat in the ER waiting for care to my injuries.

I told them I was pressing charges and wanted the man arrested. I was told the man had been detained. I later found out that was a lie. The 2 men gave false statements to police. For some reason the police believed the men instead of me and never investigated the residence I was at, so they never found the damaged door and my blood all over the room.

The police report stated that I was hit by accident, which they were basing on false statements by the men and a lack of evidence due to poor investigation or some kind of corruption and misconduct. This incident was on the news and in newspapers and it was never mentioned that a female bystander was hit with a bat and taken to hospital for injuries.

For some reason, reporters were not told about my being injured in the incident. My friend was arrested a few hours later for stabbing the man and causing life threatening injuries. For almost 4 months, I did everything I could to try helping my friend, the victim, who sat in jail for defending himself while awaiting trial.

He was looking at a life sentence. Apparently, a woman who was friends with the man in jail and worked for a law firm wrote the district attorney a letter stating the situation and a person's right to defend and protect oneself in his home. This letter helped release my friend within several days.

The district attorney did not prosecute the 2 men who assaulted my friend and injured me. As if it wasn't bad enough being a victim in a random act of violence, it added salt to my wound by being completely ignored and not acknowledged as a victim of a violent crime, allowing for my constitutional rights being violated.

I was wronged by the one who is supposed to uphold the law and provide justice. I was wronged by law enforcement who mishandled my case and chose not to do a thorough investigation, which can only be explained as corruption and misconduct. I was denied any justice and which I have not been able to have closure.

I now have over $12,000 in medical bills and a permanent scar on my forehead. I want the men who did this to be held accountable for their actions and punished for their crimes. Especially the man who hit me.

I want law enforcement to be made aware of their mistakes and held accountable for them. As well as the district attorney for theirs. I contacted attorneys and law firms and was unsuccessful at finding anyone to help me sue the man for medical costs. It was never talked about in filing a claim against homeowners insurance. I don't know why.

(I was told that the owner of the residence where my injury took place died several months after the incident. I have not been able to find any evidence of this information being true.)

EITHER WAY, I STILL HAVE MEDICAL BILLS THAT NEED PAID!

So my questions are...

1) Is there a statute of limitations on suing homeowners insurance? If so, what is it?

2) What if the homeowner died before a claim could be filed?

3) Who would be the homeowner to sue, the owner where the incident and injury occurred or the owner who lived next door and is the one who injured me?

4) Can the complexities of my situation and the negligent acts of city/government officials be a cause to ask for leniency on my behalf in the filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has occurred?

5) Why should gov officials get the privilege of immunity if they are in violation of their sworn duties that cause injury to the public by violating their constitutional rights? Would a class action help make this possible?

6) Why can there be a statute of limitations to sue someone for medical expenses that cause financial harm that never goes away?

7) Is there a statute of limitations on how long a D.A. can prosecute?

Thank you so much for any answers you can provide.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "No justice for innocent bystander?":

Tracie (Sacramento, CA):

1) Is there a statute of limitations on suing homeowners insurance? If so, what is it?

Under California’s Code of Civil Procedure Section 335-349.4 there is a two (2) year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This includes homeowner's injury claims.

This means if you have been the victim of negligence resulting in personal injury you must either settle your injury claim within two (2) years from the date of the injury or file a lawsuit. Once that time expires, as a victim you lose your legal right to pursue the homeowner for compensation. In your case, the statute of limitations began the day you were injured.

2) What if the homeowner died before a claim could be filed?

The homeowner’s death would result in his (or her) assets and liabilities being placed in probate. If the homeowner dies "testate," meaning he (or she) died with a will, the will will name an Executor. This is the person who will be in charge of the decedent's estate.

If the homeowner died "intestate," meaning he (or she) left no will, then the court will appoint an Executor. In either event, you can seek compensation for your injuries from the Executor.

3) Who would be the homeowner to sue, the owner where the incident and injury occurred or the owner who lived next door and is the one who injured me?

From the facts you present, neither party’s homeowner’s insurance would cover your injuries. Homeowners insurance does not cover injuries resulting from criminal acts.

4) Can the complexities of my situation and the negligent acts of city/government officials be a cause to ask for leniency on my behalf in the filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has occurred?

No. The actions or omissions of police or other government officials do not provide "leniency" in the from of an extension of your legal requirement to file a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations.

5) Why should gov officials get the privilege of immunity if they are in violation of their sworn duties that cause injury to the public by violating their constitutional rights? Would a class action help make this possible?

Police officers are protected by the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity when those officers are acting within the scope of their normal and customary work duties. The immunity doctrine even applies when the police are wrong, or otherwise make a mistake, as long as those mistakes occur within their normal work duties.

The immunity protection does not extend to police officers if their acts or omissions are determined to be criminal, or grossly negligent. Those acts or omissions would clearly be outside their normal and customary work duties. From the facts you present, the police were acting within the scope of their duties. As a result, they are immune from a lawsuit.

A class action would not be appropriate. Class actions are lawsuits filed by one or more law firms on behalf of a class of people injured or otherwise unduly harmed by one or more parties. In your case, unless you can show there are a substantial number of people who have been similarly harmed, a class action can not exist. Additionally, because of sovereign immunity it is very unlikely a class action could ever be formed.

6) Why can there be a statute of limitations to sue someone for medical expenses that cause financial harm that never goes away?

If there wasn't a statute of limitations, people could wait years before their financial problems were remedied. Waiting for an unlimited amount of time would be patently unfair to those accused of negligent acts in a civil action.

7) Is there a statute of limitations on how long a D.A. can prosecute?

Yes. Under Section 801 of California's Penal Code, a prosecution for an offense punishable by confinement in a state prison must be commenced by the District Attorney within three (3) years from the date of offense.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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