Extended Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Cases Going into Effect in New Jersey
Starting December 1, 2019, a two-year “window” will be enacted in New Jersey For Sex Abuse Survivors
In recent years, many states have extended the statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims in civil court, and New Jersey is now one of those states. The legislation passed earlier in 2019, and it will go into effect on December 1, 2019. This new law expands the rights of those injured by sexual assault when they were minors, and if you believe you might have a case, you should discuss the matter with a dedicated child sexual assault injury lawyer right away.
In the past, people who suffered sexual abuse as a minor had two years from when they discovered the injury from the abuse or two years after their 18th birthday, whichever was later. This did not give victims much time to take legal action, and many abuse victims lost their ability to file a civil lawsuit.
As of December 1, 2019, victims will have until the later of the following to file a claim:
- Their 55th birthday
- Seven years after discovering the abuse-related injuries
This gives victims substantially more time to come forward and take action against their abusers.
Additionally, victims who previously lost their ability to file a claim because of the past statute of limitations will now have the option to take legal action. As of December 1, 2019, people who had the statute of limitations expire now have a two-year window in which to file a claim. This opportunity will exist no matter the age of a victim, and it opens up the possibility of seeking civil justice for many childhood sexual abuse victims.
However, it is important to realize that once the two years have passed, the window will no longer be available for those who are past their statute of limitations. It is extremely important to speak to a lawyer who represents sexual abuse victims as soon as possible if you are considering coming forward within this window. If you do not, you will once again lose your right to hold abusers and related organizations accountable.
Another important change in the law now permits victims to hold liable not only individual abusers, but also certain organizations that employed abusers. This includes charitable and public organizations that were previously immune to such liability. The changes will allow victims to hold churches, public schools, and similar entities responsible when an employee commits sexual assault.
When someone injures another person intentionally or negligently, that party should be held liable for all of the harm and losses caused. Sexual abuse can cause many injuries to children, including:
- Physical injuries to genital areas or from the use of force
- Sexually-transmitted diseases
- Lasting mental and emotional trauma
While coming forward as a sexual abuse victim can be difficult, victims and their families should always be aware of their rights to take civil action against the abuser. Generally, a criminal case will do little to compensate the victim of sexual abuse, so filing a separate case in civil court might be necessary to obtain the financial compensation a victim deserves for medical bills, psychological treatment, and pain and suffering.
At the Leonard Legal Group, we know how difficult it can be to discuss child sexual abuse, but we also know that seeking justice is critical for abuse victims. Justice should be sought as you want to and on your own terms. Our firm is committed to providing personalized and caring representation for all of our injured clients, and we are here to protect you and your rights.
The changing law in New Jersey highly favors sexual abuse victims, and you should not hesitate to discuss your legal options with an injury attorney you can trust. We offer completely free and confidential consultations, so please contact us online or call us at 973-984-1414 for more information.