How Long Do You Have to File a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit in New Jersey?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Historically, New Jersey followed the lead of many other states and had a restrictive time limit to file a sexual abuse lawsuit. If you were an adult at the time of the abuse, the New Jersey statute of limitations required a lawsuit to be filed within two years. If the victim was a minor at the time of the abuse, a lawsuit must have been filed before the survivor was eighteen, or two years from the date of discovery, whichever was later. However, a victim of sexual abuse rarely has the emotional and psychological strength to pursue a lawsuit in such a short period. Fortunately, New Jersey has recently addressed this problem. Below, our New Jersey institutional sexual abuse attorney looks at the new deadlines and how they impact civil lawsuits.

New Jersey Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

In May of 2019, Phil Murphy, the Governor of New Jersey, signed the Child Victims Act, Bill S-477, into law. This act extended the deadlines under the statute of limitations to file civil lawsuits for sexual abuse claims.

Under the amended statute of limitations, a minor who was the victim of sexual abuse has until they reach their fifty-fifth birthday to file a civil lawsuit. There is also a discovery exemption, meaning that the victim has seven years from the date they were aware the abuse occurred. For purposes of a civil lawsuit, whatever date is later is applicable. This is a significant change to the original and very restrictive deadline.

Look Back Window for Sexual Abuse Cases That Were Barred by New Jersey’s Statute of Limitations

While the Child Victims Act created sweeping changes for those unfortunate minors that will be victims of sexual abuse in the future, there are still thousands of survivors who were barred by New Jersey’s previous statute of limitations.

To address this issue, the Child Victims Act created a “look back window.” This revolutionary provision gives a second chance to those victims of sexual abuse that were unable or unwilling to file a civil claim before they turned eighteen. From now until November 30, 2020, any survivor is entitled to file a civil lawsuit.

While this revived window provides an opening to find redress and justice for victims that were previously prohibited from seeking compensation, it is only available for a limited time. If you were a victim of childhood abuse, this is an opportunity that will not likely come again. If you were hesitant or barred in the past, you only have a limited period to seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Our New Jersey attorney for victims of sexual abuse will provide professional and compassionate representation to those victims who were previously barred from filing a lawsuit.

New Jersey Ended Immunity for Many Nonprofit Organizations for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

In addition to extending the period that a survivor could bring a lawsuit for sexual abuse, New Jersey also amended the Charitable Immunity Act. Under this act, nonprofit organizations were afforded immunity in civil lawsuits under certain circumstances.

Under the amended law, nonprofits organized superficially for charitable, religious, hospital, or educational purposes could now be held liable for wanton, willful, or grossly negligent conduct or omissions that resulted in sexual abuse. Liability extends to the organization’s employees, officers, directors, agents, and volunteers.

Our New Jersey sexual abuse victim attorney is now permitted to file lawsuits against institutions such as a lawsuit for sexual abuse by the Catholic Church that used to be protected under the old Charitable Immunity Act. The amended act allows survivors to seek financial restitution from the institutions and organizations that allowed their abuse to occur. Furthermore, the amended law is retroactive, working in conjunction with the amended statute of limitations.

Damages Available in a New Jersey Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Victims of sexual abuse experience physical, emotional, and mental harm. In many cases, the physical injuries and wounds heal, while the mental scars last a lifetime. Survivors of sexual abuse are entitled to seek monetary compensation for the harm they suffered.

Economic damages are the easiest to understand. If you were a victim of sexual abuse, you could recover your financial losses. These losses include the expense of any therapy you needed throughout your life or will require going forward. While it might be challenging to piece together what medical costs were associated with the abuse, our New Jersey sexual abuse attorney will work closely with you to calculate an amount. There are also financial losses that go beyond medical care. For example, you should be compensated if you had to leave a school, move, or were unable to work because of the emotional trauma you suffered. Our attorney for victims sexually abused at school can help.

Much of the damage caused by sexual abuse is not financial. A survivor could suffer emotionally and mentally for decades. The ability to form relationships is often hampered, along with a distrust of religious faith. Every survivor will have a different story. If you were a victim of abuse, you are entitled to noneconomic damages to compensate you for the negative impact the sexual abuse had on your life.

In some cases, a court will award punitive damages. Punitive damages do not reflect your suffering but are directly related to the malicious conduct of your assailant or institution that allowed the abuse to occur. A court will award monetary damages to punish the defendant or institution.

Contact Our New Jersey Sexual Abuse Victim Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation

New Jersey has created an opportunity to seek justice and restitution for victims of sexual abuse who were once barred. Our New Jersey attorney for sexual abuse by a doctor or other sexual abuse victims is dedicated to providing compassionate and discreet representation to survivors. If you or a loved one was the victim of abuse, call the Law Offices of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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