Extension of Statute of Limitations Gives Childhood Sexual Assault Survivors in California More Time to File Lawsuits

On October 13, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218, which grants survivors of childhood sexual abuse in California more time to file a lawsuit against his/her attacker. Pursuant to the new law, survivors now have the following extended time periods by which to file a claim: until they reach the age of 40 or five years from the date they discover their injury was caused by the childhood sexual assault.

This revision of the law is an emotional victory for those who have experienced sexual assault as a minor in California. Before this extension, survivors had to file their claims by the time they turned age 26 or three years from the date they discover their injury was caused by the childhood sexual assault.

Further, this new law also grants a three-year “lookback window” to victims of all ages who had previously been barred from filing a lawsuit for sexual abuse because their statute of limitations had expired. Additionally, the new law allows a claimant to recover triple the amount of damages in cases where it is found that there was an attempt to cover-up the sexual abuse. The new extended statutes of limitation provided by Assembly Bill 218 will come into effect starting January 1, 2020.

The passage of Assembly Bill 218 demonstrates that California lawmakers are now acknowledging the severe emotional and psychological effects that abuse of this nature can have on an individual. Most importantly, lawmakers are recognizing that it can be hard for those who suffered these types of traumatic experiences to speak up about their abuse and face his/her attacker, especially in the court of law. Survivors should not have their chance to speak up taken away from them just because their statute of limitations has passed. Extending the statute of limitations is a step in the right direction in that it gives survivors of childhood sexual assault the additional time they may need to feel comfortable enough to speak up and take legal action against their attackers. For victims of sexual abuse, coming to terms with the harm they experienced and feeling ready to finally take action can often be the biggest hurdle.

Contact Our Caring Attorneys For Help In Filing a Claim

The compassionate and dedicated lawyers at Mary Alexander & Associates understand the sensitive nature of childhood sexual assault cases. We stand ready to fight for those who have endured this type of abuse and will work to ensure they are given their day in court. If you or your child have experienced sexual assault, please reach out for a case consultation today.