New York Passes New Child Victims Act Extending the Statute of Limitations for Victims of Sexual Abuse

Victims of sexual abuse suffer serious psychological and sometimes physical injuries, especially when the abuse extends over a long period of time and involves multiple incidents. For some, seeking justice against their abuser is a daunting and overwhelming experience. The New York Legislature passed a new law that extends the state’s statute of limitations to provide victims of child sex abuse more time to pursue legal action against the perpetrator. The new law allows victims of sexual abuse to seek legal recourse until they are 55 years old, whereas the prior law only gave victims until the age of 23.

The new law also includes a so-called “look-back window” for adult victims of abuse that were unable to assert a legal claim under the prior law to bring their case within one year. This means that the individuals with a claim that expired under the previous statute of limitations have an opportunity to assert their claim. It is critical that these individuals speak to an experienced abuse lawyer to understand their rights and whether the new look-back window applies to their situation.

Also, when it comes to bringing legal action against a public institution in New York, plaintiffs are not required to present a notice of claim within 90 days after the alleged abuse occurred. The prior law did not require victims to submit a notice of claim to private organizations. Victims are also now able to seek misdemeanor charges against an abuser until their 25th birthday and they have until their 28th birthday to seek felony criminal charges.

Victims of sexual abuse can assert many different claims against various individuals or entities to receive compensation for their suffering. A few causes of action that commonly apply to situations involving sexual abuse are civil assault, civil battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment. There may be statutes that provide legal recourse for victims of child porn, as well, those who are victims of human trafficking.

If the person who caused you harm was working for an employer at the time the abuse, you may also be able to bring a claim against the employer based on a theory called vicarious liability. Under this theory, employers are liable for the torts that their employees commit during the course and scope of employment. Also, there are independent causes of action that you can assert directly against the employer, like negligent hiring and negligent supervision. If the employer knew or should have known that the abuser had a history of similar conduct, or failed to investigate his or her background to determine whether he or she had a history of similar conduct, then the employer may be held liable.

If you or a loved one was the victim of sexual abuse, it is critical that you speak to one of our seasoned and compassionate personal injury lawyers as soon as possible to understand how ever-changing laws where you live may affect you and your right to compensation. We know that no amount of money could truly make you whole again after suffering an inexcusable act of sexual abuse, but it can help ease certain aspects of the situation such as paying for counseling and other financial expenses. We provide a free and confidential consultation to learn more about your situation and to help you learn about how our team can assist you and your family with seeking justice. Call us now at 256-355-3311 or contact us online to get started.

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