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Civil Rights Violation Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations indicates the time you have to take legal action or instigate a lawsuit where you have been a victim of a civil rights violation. Understanding the relevant statute can be complex as this will vary depending on where the offense occurred, the circumstances, and the legal action you wish to pursue.

Strom Law’s experienced civil rights attorneys in South Carolina can steer you through the appropriate statutes to ensure you have full clarity and confidence when making decisions and determine the best way forward to gain justice, closure, and reparations.

What Are the Federal Statutes Related to Civil Rights?

Statutes or laws make it a crime to cause injury or neglect the rights of any person due to an abuse of power or discrimination based on an individual’s religion, ethnicity, skin color, nationality, gender, identity, or disability. Federal laws apply across the US, regardless of state. However, state legislation can impact the statute of limitations, which dictate the maximum time that can have passed since a civil rights violation before you take legal action.

How are civil rights violated? As the many examples of civil rights violations by police demonstrate, civil rights cover a wide range of potential circumstances, including police brutality, unlawful arrest, refusal to provide medical treatment, or other acts of discrimination, such as withholding housing, employment, or school admission.

What Are the Statutes of Limitation in South Carolina?

An offender convicted of a civil rights violation can be subject to up to ten years in prison, and the general statute of limitations is seven years. More serious crimes where the perpetrator commits sexual abuse, kidnap, death, or attempted crimes of this nature result in more severe sentences and do not always carry a statute of limitations.

However, these federal statutes apply to criminal prosecutions, and it is common for a victim or a loved one to pursue a lawsuit or civil case alongside criminal court proceedings. This may involve filing a lawsuit to claim compensation to cover costs associated with counseling, physical rehabilitation, loss of income, or other damages or seeking different outcomes to address some of the harm caused by the perpetrator.

The criminal statutes may not apply in civil cases, but this varies. For example, the general convention in South Carolina is a limitation of three years where the defendant is non-governmental or two years where the claimant is filing a suit against a governmental body such as a police department, hospital, or official.

Further complications may apply, where some types of civil rights claims must be filed in a specific order, such as recording a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within six months before filing a private lawsuit related to employment discrimination. Strom Law always recommends an initial consultation to discuss some of the information around your case in a confidential, sensitive, and reassuring environment to decide upon the potential next steps.

How Can a Civil Rights Attorney Help?

Clarifying the relevant statute of limitations is a positive starting point, equipping you with knowledge about how to proceed with litigation and working through the required sequence of complaints, where relevant. Any discrimination against an individual that denies them their constitutional civil rights or the right to opportunities, such as a job, home, or school placement, can be prejudicial.

The team of civil rights lawyers at Strom Law can help claimants achieve justice in a court setting or out-of-court settlement, ensuring that you address acts of mistreatment. Our skilled legal advisors can assist in cases of discrimination, wrongful conviction or arrest, police civil rights violations, and sexual harassment or assault, among many other issues, such as:

  • Being denied promotion or employment due to discrimination
  • Unlawful search and seizure procedures
  • Unnecessary violence, detention, or restraint by a police officer
  • Refusal of equal rights to housing or other opportunities

If you have experienced a suspected civil rights violation in the last two to three years, you may have recourse to instigate a lawsuit, regardless of whether the perpetrator has already been subject to criminal proceedings. Upholding your rights, seeking fair settlements to help with recovery or losses suffered, and bringing civil rights abusers to justice can help gain closure and protect future potential victims from similar abuses of their rights.



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