New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently signed legislation to significantly extend the statute of limitations for filing civil claims of sexual abuse, effective December 1, 2019. The legislation – known as S477 — allows childhood sexual abuse victims more time to file and also establishes a two-year window for victims to file lawsuits in cases that would otherwise be outside the time limits.
New Jersey’s current sexual abuse statute of limitations
Every state has statutes of limitations – legal time frames for filing civil claims in the state’s court system. These time limits are based on the type of civil claim, and they vary from state to state. New Jersey’s current statute of limitations for child victims of sexual abuse is two years from the time the child was abused or two years from the time the victim became aware of the abuse.
New Jersey’s new law expands statute of limitations
The new legislation signed by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in May extends the legal time limits for filing civil claims of sexual abuse from the existing two year statute of limitations to seven years. Specifically, the new law provides that child sexual abuse victims will have until the age of 55 years – or seven years from the time when they discovered their abuse – to file a claim of sexual abuse in the courts. Under this new legislation, adult sexual abuse victims have seven years from the time of the abuse to file a claim, or seven years from the time when the victim discovered their abuse.
Two-year window for older victims
New Jersey’s newly signed legislation also provides a two-year window for older victims of sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit, allowing those victims to file a claim of sexual abuse until November 30, 2021.
New law extends liability to additional parties
New Jersey’s new sexual abuse law allows victims to bring claims against additional categories of defendants. Any individuals, institutions, or entities who knowingly permitted sexual abuse or provided protection to a sexual abuser may be held civilly liable.
We protect the rights of sexual abuse victims
At the /, our skilled attorneys understand the challenges inherent in filing a claim of sexual abuse. We provide compassionate counsel and work with you every step of the way to hold your abusers accountable for their actions. Attorney Scott G. Leonard was named a New Jersey Super Lawyer for 2019 for the twelfth consecutive year, and was also selected by the National Trial Lawyers as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer in New Jersey. Attorney Leonard is Board Certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Civil Trial Lawyer, a designation achieved by less than two percent of all New Jersey attorneys. Our team is available to answer your questions regarding New Jersey’s new sexual abuse law, explain the legal process, and discuss your options. To speak confidentially with a member of our team, arrange a consultation by contacting our office at 973-984-1414 or contact us online.