Generally, there is a two-year statute of limitations to file suit for “assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.”  An action for libel, slander or false imprisonment is subject to a one-year statute of limitations.  Ordinarily, a cause of action for defamation accrues when the defamatory statement is “published”—i.e., when defendant communicates the statement to a third person [Shively v. Bozanich (2003]. Where the communication was inherently “secretive” or confidential and thus not reasonably discoverable by plaintiff (e.g., entries in personnel records, communications by or to credit reporting agencies), accrual may be delayed until plaintiff discovers (or reasonably should have discovered) the defamatory statement [Shively v. Bozanich]. In one case, it was held that “similarly, a $10 million punitives award was affirmed in a slander of title case involving only $19,000 compensatory damages, based in part upon the potential harm that could have resulted from defendant’s wrongful conduct” [TXO Production Corp. v. Alliance Resources Corp. (1993)].

If the claim involves an on-the-job injury, the client will have to be advised of his or her rights and remedies under the workers’ compensation law and how this may impact the value of related claims against third parties other than the employer. An injured worker’s remedies against the employer or a co-employee are, absent narrow exception, solely under the workers’ compensation law —i.e., there is no “common law” action against the employer or a co-employee because, as a general rule, workers’ comp is the exclusive remedy for injury or death of an employee occurring in the course and scope of employment.  Ordinarily, whether an employee’s injury was sustained in the scope of employment turns on the facts of each case and is for the jury to decide unless, as a matter of law, the facts admit of only one conclusion. [Mason v. Lake Dolores Group, LLC (2004)]. The workers’ compensation law does not override more specific statutes expressly creating a damages cause of action in favor of certain classes of employees for specified employer misconduct. The theory is that the more specific statute is intended to implement specified public policy goals distinct from those created by the workers’ compensation law, and the Legislature could not have intended the latter to defeat the former [Shoemaker v. Myers (1990)]. It would be best to seek personal assistance from a lawyer in order to help you with your personal injury case.

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