Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations for Each State in 2022

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Filing a lawsuit against an abuser is every sexual assault survivor’s right. However, to do so successfully, you must bring a claim within your state’s statute of limitations.

In the United States, the statute of limitations to file a civil lawsuit against a sexual abuser varies from state to state. Depending on the state you live in, or where the abuse occurred, you may only have a few years to file a claim. Generally, survivors of childhood sexual assault have longer to sue an abuser than adult victims do. That being said, that’s not always guaranteed. If you plan to file a lawsuit against an abuser for sexual assault, hire an attorney regardless of your age at the time of the abuse. Your lawyer can help you file a claim within your state’s statute of limitations to get the justice you deserve.

Our attorneys are dedicated to helping sexual assault survivors hold their abusers accountable. For a free case evaluation with the dedicated sexual assault victim attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, call us today at (814) 826-3586.

What Are the Sexual Assault Statutes of Limitations for Each State in 2022?

States create their own filing deadlines for sexual assault lawsuits, which vary substantially across the country. Many states have updated their statutes of limitations for sexual abuse claims in recent years, as victims and advocates have voiced the need for change. Knowing the statute of limitations for filing a sexual assault lawsuit in your state of residence or the state in which the abuse occurred is crucial. Otherwise, you may lose your opportunity to hold an abuser accountable for their actions. That’s why our sexual assault victim lawyers have compiled a comprehensive list of the statute of limitations for such lawsuits in each state in 2022.

Alabama

Alabama has one of the shortest statutes of limitations for adult and child victims of sexual assault to file a lawsuit against an abuser. According to Ala. Code § 6-2-38, adults have just two years from the date of injury to sue a responsible party for sexual assault. Under the same statute, survivors of child sexual assault have the same amount of time to file a lawsuit. That being said, the statute of limitations is tolled until the child victim turns 19. That means child victims of sexual abuse in Alabama have only until their 21st birthday to file a lawsuit and hold a responsible party accountable for their wrongdoing.

Because the statute of limitations is so short for Alabama survivors, it’s important to hire a sexual assault victim lawyer as soon as you feel ready. Unfortunately, victims who wait too long to consult an attorney and file a lawsuit can lose their right to pursue justice against an abuser.

Alaska

In Alaska, both adult and child victims of sexual assault are not limited by a filing deadline. As long as the abuse you endured meets the criteria for specific felony offenses, like felony sexual abuse of a minor or felony sexual assault, you can bring a civil suit against a responsible party at any time.

That being said, this statute can be confusing, so it’s important to consult with a sexual assault victim lawyer to ensure your claim meets the necessary criteria. Otherwise, you will only have two years from the date of injury, or two years from your 18th birthday, to file a sexual assault lawsuit in Alaska.

Arizona

Unfortunately, Arizona survivors of sexual assault have only a short time to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit against an abuser. In Arizona, the statute of limitations for adult victims to sue a responsible party is two years from the date of injury.

The filing deadline for child survivors of sexual assault in Arizona is considerably longer. As of 2022, victims of childhood sexual assault can bring a civil lawsuit against an abuser within 12 years of their 18th birthday. That means that child survivors generally have until they turn 30 years old to sue a responsible party for sexual assault.

This Arizona statute defines sexual assault of a minor as sexual conduct, which can be difficult to understand. That is why it’s important for survivors to speak with a skilled sexual assault victim lawyer to know if they can sue a responsible party in Arizona.

Arkansas

Generally speaking, adult survivors of sexual assault have just three years to file a lawsuit against an abuser in Arkansas, according to Ark. Code § 16-56-105. While this timeframe is longer than in some states, it is still a relatively short period for victims to come forward and sue an abuser. If the circumstances regarding your experience meet the criteria of assault and battery, you may have just one year to file a lawsuit in Arkansas, according to Ark. Code § 16-56-104. Because of this, it’s important that victims act quickly and reach out to a skilled sexual assault victim lawyer as soon as possible.

In 2022 in Arkansas, child victims of sexual assault also have three years after they turn 18 to file a lawsuit against a responsible party, according to Ark. Code § 16-56-130. Similar to other states, Arkansas allows child victims to sue after the date of discovery. In such cases, the timeframe is also three years.

California

In California, adult survivors of sexual assault have a relatively long time to file a lawsuit against a responsible party, comparatively speaking. In California, adults have ten years from the date of injury to sue a sexual abuser. Suppose the trauma surrounding an assault has prevented an adult victim from recognizing it, or they were unaware of the assault because of incapacitation or other reasons. In that case, they have three years from the date of discovery to file a lawsuit.

Child sexual assault survivors in California also have a considerable amount of time to sue an abuser for the wrongs done to them. In California, survivors of childhood sexual abuse have 22 years from their 18th birthday, or until they turn 40, to file a lawsuit against an abuser. There is a similar caveat for discovery, allowing child victims to file lawsuits within five years of the date of discovery of abuse.

California also has a three-year lookback window that opened in January of 2020 for minor sexual abuse survivors who could not bring a claim within the statute of limitations. If you plan on filing a lawsuit against an abuser under the lookback window or not, reach out to an experienced sexual assault victim attorney for help.

Colorado

As of January 2022, sexual assault victims in Colorado can now bring a lawsuit against a responsible party at any time, according to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-103.7. Provided that the circumstances surrounding your experience meet the criteria for certain felonies or sexual misconduct, you can sue an abuser without the concern of a statute of limitations.

This applies to all sexual assault survivors throughout Colorado, regardless of their age at the time of the abuse. This new statute also applies to individuals who were sexually assaulted before January 2022 if the previous statute of limitations had not run out.

Connecticut

Connecticut’s statute of limitations regarding sexual assault claims is complicated, so hiring an experienced sexual assault victim lawyer before you pursue a lawsuit is wise. Generally speaking, adult victims have three years from the date of injury to sue an abuser. However, if an abuser was previously convicted of a crime stemming from your assault, you can bring a claim at any time as an adult. In such cases, there is no filing deadline.

Child victims, and individuals under 21, can file a lawsuit against an abuser until they turn 51 years old. The statute of limitations in such cases is 30 years from when a victim turns 21 years old.

Delaware

As of 2022, Delaware does not have a special statute of limitations for sexual assault lawsuits for adult victims. Instead, this state, like many, categorizes sexual assault under its normal personal injury statute. Currently, the filing deadline for adult victims of sexual abuse in Delaware is two years from the date of injury.

Conversely, there is no statute of limitations for child survivors of sexual assault. However, for victims to bring a claim against a responsible party, the abuse they experienced must qualify as a criminal offense in Delaware. To learn whether or not the abuse you endured qualifies for a non-existent filing deadline, speak to a skilled sexual assault victim attorney as soon as possible.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia’s statute of limitations for sexual assault lawsuits is certainly unique. In the District of Columbia, survivors of sexual assault under 35 have until their 40th birthday, or five years from the date of discovery, to sue an abuser. So, regardless of whether you were a child victim or an adult victim, you will have until you turn 40 to file a lawsuit, provided the abuse happened before you turned 35.

For any individuals who were sexually assaulted at 35 years old or older, the statute of limitations is five years. These victims also have five years from the date of discovery to file a lawsuit against an abuser.

Florida

Individuals who are sexually assaulted as minors in Florida have seven years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. If child victims are financially dependent on their abusers, they will have four years from when the dependency is removed to pursue litigation. Child victims in Florida can also sue for four years after the date of discovery. Adults generally have four years to file a claim for sexual assault in Florida, provided the assault meets the necessary criteria.

Florida also provides a statute of limitations for minors under 16 who are victims of sexual battery, according to Florida Statute § 95.11(9). Such individuals are not beholden to a statute of limitations when suing an abuser in Florida.

Georgia

According to Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-33, adults in Georgia can sue an abuser for sexual assault within two years of the date of injury. It’s important to note that this is the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims and is not a special statute for sexual assault claims.

Georgia’s statute regarding the filing deadline for child victims of sexual assault, Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-33.1, is quite complex. It includes confusing definitions and caveats, so reaching out to a sexual assault victim lawyer is crucial if you plan to file a claim. Generally speaking, survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Georgia have five years from the time they reach majority age, or until they turn 23, to sue a responsible party for sexual assault. Child victims also have two years from the date of discovery to file a sexual assault claim.

Hawaii

In Hawaii in 2022, survivors of childhood sexual assault can generally file a lawsuit against an abuser for eight years after they reach majority age. Such victims can also file a lawsuit within three years of the date of discovery.

There are special circumstances for lawsuits based on acts that would constitute criminal offenses. Because of this, you should reach out to an experienced sexual assault victim lawyer if you plan on suing an abuser in Hawaii.

Generally speaking, adult survivors of sexual assault have just two years to file a lawsuit against an abuser in Hawaii. While this is not an uncommon timeframe, it can be difficult for adults to achieve justice if they don’t act quickly.

Idaho

As of 2022, adult survivors of sexual assault in Idaho have two years to file a lawsuit against a responsible party. As with many other states, there is no special statute of limitations for adult victims of sexual abuse. Instead, these individuals are beholden to the regular filing deadline for personal injury claims.

Child survivors of sexual assault don’t have much longer to file a claim. Once a victim reaches majority age, they have five years to sue an abuser for sexual assault in Idaho. Child victims also have five years from the date of discovery to do so.

Illinois

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for child sexual assault lawsuits favors survivors, not abusers. According to Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/13-202.2, survivors of childhood sexual assault can sue an abuser for 20 years after they reach majority age. Victims also have 20 years to sue after the date of discovery of injuries.

Although the statute of limitations for adult victims to file a lawsuit against an abuser in Illinois is just two years, the clock does not run during any time when a survivor is threatened or intimidated by their abuser.

Indiana

In 2022, adults who are sexually assaulted in Indiana have two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. While this may seem like a short period, two years is unfortunately the normal statute of limitations for adult victims from state to state.

The filing deadline for child victims is different in Indiana, as it so often is across the country. Generally, survivors of childhood sexual abuse have seven years to sue a responsible party after they reach majority age. There are, however, exceptions for individuals under certain circumstances. For example, child victims who are dependent on their abuser have four years from the end of their dependency to sue. Child victims who discover abuse later in life have seven years from the date of discovery to file a lawsuit against a responsible party.

Iowa

In Iowa, adult victims of sexual assault have two years from the date of injury to file a claim. There’s no special statute for adults like there is for children, so adult Iowa survivors must know that they may only have a short time to bring a civil lawsuit against an abuser for sexual assault.

As of 2022, child survivors of sexual assault in Indiana can file a lawsuit within four years of reaching majority age or four years from the date of discovery. In terms of filing deadlines for child victims across the United States, Indiana’s is relatively short. If you plan to bring a claim for abuse done to you in your youth or adulthood, it’s important to act quickly. Reach out to a skilled sexual assault victim attorney as soon as possible to begin the process of getting justice.

Kansas

In 2022, adult victims of sexual assault in Kansas have two years after the date of injury to sue a responsible party. The timeframe for sexual assault lawsuits brought by adults is the same as the timeframe for general personal injury claims.

Generally speaking, survivors of childhood sexual assault in Kansas have just three years after reaching majority age to file a lawsuit against a responsible party. That means that child victims cannot sue past their 21st birthday. Of course, this is a short timeframe, especially for children who may not recognize an assault until many years after. In order to successfully file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations in Kansas, survivors should consult a sexual assault victim attorney as soon as they can.

Kentucky

Regarding sexual assault lawsuits, adult victims in Kentucky generally have five years to file a claim. The statute of limitations for adults is tolled in instances where an abuser’s identity is unknown, or the date of discovery is delayed. Victims can also sue within five years of an abuser’s conviction of crimes related to their sexual assault. Certain assaults or abuses are eligible for a ten-year statute of limitations, regardless of a survivor’s age.

Generally, survivors of childhood sexual assault have until their 28th birthday to file a civil action for damages in Kentucky. That being said, child victims can also file a lawsuit within ten years of the date of discovery or the date that an individual is convicted of a crime relating to their abuse.

While abusers don’t need to be convicted of a crime order for child victims to sue them, the abuse in question needs to meet the criteria of a misdemeanor or felony sexual act in Kentucky. Learning whether or not the trauma you experienced qualifies you to sue an abuser can be overwhelming and difficult. An experienced sexual assault victim attorney familiar with Kentucky’s complicated laws can clarify that point for you so that you can pursue litigation against an abuser.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, adult survivors of sexual assault have just one year from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against an abuser. This timeframe also applies to child victims, who have just one year after reaching majority age, or after the date of discovery to sue an abuser for sexual assault in Louisiana.

Such short periods make it crucial for survivors in Louisiana to act quickly after experiencing abuse. If you can, reach out to a skilled sexual assault victim attorney who can help you get justice against an abuser in Louisiana.

Maine

Although the statute of limitations for adult survivors of sexual abuse to bring a claim is the same in Maine as the state’s filing deadline for regular personal injury claims, it is still relatively long compared to other states. As of 2022, adult victims of sexual assault in Maine have six years from the date of injury to sue a responsible party for abuse.

If you were sexually assaulted as a minor in Maine, there is no limitation on when you can bring a civil action against an abuser. Survivors of childhood sexual assault can sue a responsible party at any time after the abuse occurred. There is no limitation at all. That being said, the wrongs done to you must meet the criteria of Maine’s definitions of sexual act or sexual contact.

Maryland

Similar to many other states, Maryland does not have a special statute of limitations for adult survivors of sexual assault. So, as of 2022, adult sexual abuse victims only have three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against a responsible party.

In Maryland, victims of childhood sexual assault have 20 years from the day before their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit against an abuser. If an abuser is convicted of a crime relating to the abuse you endured as a child, you will also have three years from their conviction date to sue.

Suing a government entity for sexual abuse in Maryland can be complicated and require child victims to come forward sooner than they may have anticipated. If multiple parties are responsible for your experience of abuse, it’s crucial that you reach out to a skilled sexual assault victim attorney for help.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, victims of childhood sexual assault have 35 years from the date they reach majority age to file a lawsuit against an abuser. Such victims also have seven years from the date of discovery to sue for sexual assault.

On the other hand, adults have significantly less time to bring a civil action against an abuser. In Massachusetts, adult survivors of sexual assault generally have three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. In instances relating to trafficking and other abuses, the statute of limitations for adults is also three years. For child victims of the same abuse, the statute of limitations is three years after a child reaches majority age in Massachusetts, as of 2022.

Michigan

Michigan does not differentiate between child and adult victims regarding its statute of limitations for sexual assault lawsuits. Regardless of your age at the time of the assault, the filing deadline may be just three years. However, other circumstances of your abuse can indicate the corresponding statute of limitations.

For example, for claims arising out of actions that constitute criminal sexual conduct, the statute of limitations is ten years from the date of accrual. For child victims, the date of accrual is their 18th birthday. For adult victims, it’s the date of injury.

There is a five-year statute of limitations for claims against a spouse for battery or assault and for claims against arising out of a dating relationship. For all other sexual assault claims, the statute of limitations in Michigan is three years.

Minnesota

Unlike many other states, Minnesota does, in fact, have a special statute of limitations for adult victims of sexual assault to file a civil claim against an abuser. Generally speaking, most states categorize such claims as regular personal injury claims. This usually results in adult victims having very little time to sue an abuser. In Michigan, victims have six years to do so.

There is no statute of limitations for many victims of childhood sexual assault to bring a claim against an abuser. That being said, if your abuser was under the age of 14 at the time they assaulted you, you must file a lawsuit before you turn 24.

Claims regarding vicarious liability, or those that name an institution as partially liable for their abuse, must be litigated sooner. This is true even if plaintiffs were children at the time of a sexual assault. In such cases, you must bring your claim within six years of your 18th birthday.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, adults who wish to bring a civil lawsuit against an abuser based on assault or assault and battery have just one year from the date of injury, according to Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-35. However, because Mississippi does not provide a specific statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims for either adult or child victims, Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49 may apply to your lawsuit. If it does, you will have three years from the date of accrual to sue for sexual abuse. For adult victims, the date of accrual is the date of injury, and for child victims, it is the day they reach majority age.

Because the difference in filing deadlines may be two years, it is crucial that you contact an experienced sexual assault victim attorney if you plan to file a lawsuit in Mississippi. Your lawyer can help you file within the necessary timeframe to hold an abuser accountable.

Missouri

Missouri has one of the longest limitations for personal injury claims at five years. Since Missouri does not have a special statute dictating the filing deadline for adult sexual assault survivors, they must abide by the five-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims.

Child victims of sexual assault have ten years from the date of injury to sue in Missouri. However, like with many other states, Missouri tolls the statute of limitations until a child reaches majority age. That means that survivors of sexual abuse in Missouri can generally file a lawsuit against a responsible party until the age of 28.

Montana

Generally speaking, survivors of childhood sexual assault in Montana have until their 27th birthday, or nine years after they turn 18, to file a lawsuit against an abuser. These victims also have three years from the date of reasonable discovery to sue for damages.

In May of 2019, Montana opened a year-long lookback window. During this time, survivors of childhood sexual abuse whose statute of limitations had previously lapsed were able to bring litigation against a responsible party. Although there is no longer a lookback window opened in 2022, it signifies a potential shift in providing additional pathways to justice for Montana victims.

Montana’s personal injury statute can be complicated regarding sexual assault claims. Generally speaking, Montana’s filing deadline for personal injury claims is three years. However, claims brought upon the basis of assault or battery must abide by a statute of limitations of two years. To clarify which type of personal injury claim you should file to sue an abuser in Montana, reach out to a sexual assault victim attorney before you file.

Nebraska

Adult survivors of sexual assault in Nebraska have four years from the date of injury to sue a responsible party for damages. Although this timeframe is longer than that of many other states, it is still important to act quickly in order to hold an abuser accountable in a sexual assault lawsuit.

As of 2017, child victims of sexual assault are no longer beholden to a statute of limitations for filing a civil suit in Nebraska. This change in law applies to individuals assaulted after August 24, 2017, and those assaulted before that date whose previous filing deadline has not yet come.

That being said, in some instances, child victims only have 12 years from their 21st birthday, or until they turn 33, to file a lawsuit. It’s important to know whether or not this filing deadline applies to you, so reach out to a sexual assault victim attorney for clarification.

Nevada

Generally, survivors of childhood sexual assault in Nevada have 20 years from the date they reach majority age to file a lawsuit against an abuser. In some cases, there is no statute of limitations for such sexual abuse lawsuits when other actions are involved. If your abuser was convicted of a crime relating to your sexual assault, that’s considered conclusive evidence in a civil lawsuit for damages in Nevada.

As is the norm across the country, adult survivors of sexual assault have considerably less time to file lawsuits against abusers than children do. In Nevada, the filing deadline for adult sexual assault victims is two years from the date of injury.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, victims of sexual assault can bring a claim against an abuser at any time. This is true, regardless of a survivor’s age at the time of the abuse and how much time has passed since then.

That being said, sexual assaults need to meet certain criteria to qualify for this lack of limitation. If your experience doesn’t meet the criteria, you will have to abide by the normal statute of limitations for personal injury claims in New Hampshire, which is three years from the accrual date. For adults, accrual begins on the date of injury, and for children, it begins once they reach majority age.

New Jersey

Recently, in 2019, New Jersey passed a law permanently extending the statute of limitations for all survivors of sexual abuse to sue an abuser. Now, adult victims have seven years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against an abuser. Children now have a longer timeframe to sue as well, until age 55 or seven years after the date of discovery, according to N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-2a.

During the same time that New Jersey extended the statute of limitations, it also opened a lookback window. Although that two-year lookback window has since closed, it, along with the recent filing deadline extensions, signifies potential future changes in access to justice for New Jersey sexual abuse survivors.

With these recent changes, New Jersey may further extend the statute of limitations for victims and possibly open additional lookback windows. However, survivors of sexual abuse mustn’t rely on potential extensions or theoretical lookback windows. If such things don’t come to fruition and you fail to sue within the current statute of limitations, you may lose your opportunity to get justice against an abuser in New Jersey.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, survivors of childhood sexual abuse have until their 24th birthday, or three years from disclosing abuse to a licensed medical or mental health care provider, to file a lawsuit against an offender, according to N.M. Stat. § 37-1-30. That means that you may still be able to sue if you are older than 24 but have yet to disclose your abuse to the necessary parties. To clarify that point, survivors in New Mexico should speak to an experienced sexual assault victim attorney as soon as possible.

Like many other states, New Mexico does not currently have a special statute of limitations for adult survivors of sexual assault. Currently, individuals assaulted in their adulthood only have three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against an abuser, according to N.M. Stat. § 37-1-8. Since three years is a short period of time, especially when reeling from the trauma of assault, it is important that victims in New Mexico consult a lawyer immediately if they intend to sue.

New York

In recent years, New York has been making strides to provide pathways to justice for sexual assault survivors. In 2019, New York passed the Child Victims Act, which not only extended the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to age 55 but also created a lookback window allowing survivors to sue an abuser, regardless of how much time had passed.

The Adult Survivors Act (ASA), passed in May 2022, put forth similar changes, this time for adults. While the ASA does not extend the statute of limitations for adult survivors of sexual abuse in New York, it does open a lookback window. Beginning on November 22, 2022, and ending on November 23, 2023, a lookback window will be open for adult survivors of sexual abuse. This window will allow adults who were assaulted above the age of 18 to file a lawsuit against an abuser, regardless of how much time has passed.

It is also important to note that adult victims of certain sexual assaults, like rape, have 20 years from the date of injury to sue in New York. Speak to an experienced attorney if you believe you are eligible for this statute of limitations. If not, you will have to abide by the normal filing deadline for personal injury claims in New York which is three years.

North Carolina

Survivors of childhood sexual assault in North Carolina have just three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against an abuser. The filing deadline is tolled until a victim turns 18, meaning survivors must sue by the time they turn 21 to hold an abuser accountable in a lawsuit. This may be shocking to some survivors in North Carolina, who may have believed they had longer to sue because of the wrongs done to them. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, so speaking with an experienced sexual assault victim attorney as soon as possible is necessary if you intend to sue.

The same timeframe applies to adult survivors of sexual abuse in North Carolina, who have just three years from the date of injury to sue an abuser. Again, three years is not very long, especially considering the amount of time it may take for victims to feel comfortable speaking up. So, as soon as you feel ready, reach out to an attorney you can trust so that you can hold an abuser accountable in North Carolina.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, survivors of childhood sexual assault have ten years to file a lawsuit against an abuser. The statute of limitations begins counting down from when a victim knows or reasonably should have known about the abuse, or turns 18. Figuring that moment, identifying it, and proving it can be difficult. That is why victims of childhood sexual abuse should consult an attorney to learn whether or not they can still sue, even if ten years have passed since the last instance of abuse.

North Dakota has one of the longest statutes of limitations for adult survivors of sexual assault to sue an abuser, being six years from the date of injury. It is important to note that this is the normal statute of limitations for personal injury claims and not a special statute for sexual assault survivors.

Ohio

Ohio has a very short filing deadline for adult survivors of sexual abuse. If you were sexually assaulted above the age of 18, barring any incapacitations, you will only have one year to file a lawsuit against an abuser in Ohio. This timeframe is even shorter than the statute of limitations for regular personal injury claims, which, in Ohio, is two years. Ohio’s one-year filing deadline for adults is dictated in the statute regarding filing deadlines for child victims of sexual assault, Ohio Rev. Code § 2305.111.

Currently, those abused as children, or under 21 if they have a developmental or physical disability, have 12 years from the date their incapacitation is removed to sue an abuser. Generally, the countdown begins when a victim turns 18 in Ohio.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s laws regarding filing deadlines for survivors of childhood sexual assault can be difficult to comprehend. Generally, victims of childhood abuse can bring a case against a responsible party until they turn 45, according to Okla. Stat. tit. 12A, § 12-95(6). That’s the rule when it comes to suing an individual abuser. However, if you plan to sue an entity, like a school, for the abuse you endured as a child, you will only have two years from when you turn 18 to sue in Oklahoma. In addition, survivors of childhood sexual assault are barred from bringing a claim against a deceased abuser or their estate unless the abuser was convicted of a crime involving the victim.

For adults, the law is much clearer. Adult survivors of sexual assault in Oklahoma have just two years from the date of injury to sue, according to Okla. Stat. tit. 12A, § 12-95(3). Once again, there is no special statute for adult survivors in Oklahoma. That said, there are exceptions for suing a defendant convicted of a crime involving an adult victim. Generally, sexual assault survivors can sue an abuser who has been convicted of a crime relating to their abuse within five years of an abuser being released from prison, according to Okla. Stat. tit. 12A, § 12-95(7). To see if you can still file a lawsuit against an abuser in Oklahoma and ensure your statute of limitations has not already lapsed, reach out to an experienced attorney immediately.

Oregon

According to Or. Rev. Stat. § 12.118, adult survivors of sexual assault in Oregon have five years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against a responsible party. While five years may appear like a long time, especially compared to other states’ statutes of limitations, it can still be exceedingly difficult for adults in Oregon to come forward with their experiences of abuse within that timeframe. So, if you plan to sue and need help building up the courage, speak to our sexual assault victim attorneys when you feel comfortable.

Oregon also has a special statute of limitations for child victims of sexual assault to sue an abuser. According to Or. Rev. Stat. § 12.117, survivors of childhood sexual assault in Oregon have until the age of 40 to file a lawsuit against an abuser. That said, it is still important to act quickly after an assault so that you have the best chances of holding a responsible party accountable in an Oregon lawsuit.

Pennsylvania

In 2019, Pennsylvania significantly extended the filing deadline for child survivors of sexual assault. Victims now have until age 55 to file a claim against a sexual abuser.

The filing deadline is a bit more complicated for adults. Those aged between 18 and 24 at the time of a sexual assault have until age 30 to file a lawsuit in Pennsylvania. If you were assaulted above the age of 24, the statute of limitations for normal personal injury claims will apply to you. According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 5524, the deadline for such claims is just two years from the date of injury.

Although Pennsylvania has not yet enacted a lookback window for survivors of sexual assault, there has been a recent push for such pathways to justice to be restored. With the recent extension of the filing deadline for child victims of sexual abuse, it is possible that Pennsylvania may enact a lookback window in the future.

Rhode Island

Like many other states, Rhode Island does not have a special statute of limitations for adult survivors of sexual assault. Instead, adult victims must abide by the filing deadline for normal personal injury claims, which is three years from the date of injury in Rhode Island, according to 6 R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-14(b).

Again, like many other states, Rhode Island has extended the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual assault to sue an abuser. In 2019, Rhode Island lengthened the previous filing deadline, extending the statute of limitations to a child victim’s 35th birthday, according to 6 R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-51.

South Carolina

In South Carolina, those sexually assaulted as adults have just three years from the date of injury to sue an abuser, according to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-530. Once again, there is no special statute of limitations for adult survivors of sexual abuse in South Carolina.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse must bring claims within six years of the accrual date or three years from the date of discovery, whichever comes later. In South Carolina, accrual begins on a victim’s 21st birthday, according to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-555. So, if you were sexually assaulted as a child, you will have until you turn 27 to file a lawsuit against an abuser in South Carolina. If you plan to bring a claim, whether you were sexually assaulted as a child or an adult, reach out to a skilled lawyer. The right sexual assault victim attorney can help South Carolina survivors get the justice they deserve.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, there is no difference between the length of time child and adult victims have to sue a sexual abuser. Currently, survivors of childhood and adult sexual assault have three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit in South Dakota. There is a three-year discovery rule for child survivors, according to S.D. Codified Laws § 26-10-25. However, children generally only have until they turn 21 to file a lawsuit against an abuser, which is often an insufficient amount of time for children to come to terms with the wrongs done to them.

If you wish to bring a lawsuit against an abuser in South Dakota and are concerned that you will be unable to do so within the allotted timeframe, speak to an attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you build a case against a sexual abuser quickly so that you can hold them accountable in a lawsuit in South Dakota. This goes for adult and child survivors alike, as the filing deadline for both types of survivors may arrive sooner than anticipated.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault Lawsuits

While sexual assault victims across the country should know that statutes of limitations are strict and should be followed, it’s also important to note that there are often exceptions. Learning about the potential exceptions to some states’ statutes of limitations can help victims who may have believed they lost the right to sue.

Tolling for Incapacitation

Generally speaking, many states have exceptions to their statutes of limitations for sexual assault claims for incapacitated individuals. Incapacitation can refer to disabled persons or minors. It can also refer to individuals with mental illnesses or other barriers that prevent them from bringing litigation against an abuser for sexual assault.

If your state does have an exception for incapacitation, and you are eligible for it, that doesn’t mean the filing deadline goes away. Usually, it means that the statute of limitations will be tolled, or paused, until your incapacitation is removed, whether through therapy or other actions. Once your incapacitation is removed, the clock will resume, and the normal statute of limitations will apply.

Tolling for Unknown Defendants

An abuser’s identity is not always known to a sexual assault victim. If you cannot identify the person responsible for your assault, you cannot hold them accountable in a lawsuit. That’s why some states toll the statute of limitations in instances where a victim does not know an abuser’s identity.

If you can identify your abuser later in life and your state pauses the clock in cases of unknown defendants, you may be able to sue. That being said, not all states toll the statute of limitations for unknown defendants, so it’s important to hire a sexual assault victim lawyer and not rely on a possible exception.

Tolling for Out-of-State Defendants

Generally speaking, you have to bring a sexual assault lawsuit in the state the abuse occurred in. But what happens if a defendant moves out of state? How are you supposed to file a lawsuit against that person in such cases? Some states recognize this hurdle for victims and toll the statute of limitations for the period during which a defendant does not reside in their previous state of residence.

When this happens, the clock is paused from the moment an abuser moves out of state. Once a defendant comes back, the clock resumes. The statute of limitations does not necessarily start over again, but instead picks up where it left off.

Tolling for Delayed Discovery

One of the most common exceptions to states’ statutes of limitations, so common that it is noted in many of these statutes, is delayed discovery. Sexual assaults can be deeply traumatic to victims. Such trauma can prevent victims from recognizing the truth regarding their experience until long after the general statute of limitations has run out.

Because of this, many states account for delayed discovery. That being said, this can be hard to prove, so it’s important that you hire an experienced sexual assault victim attorney if you plan to file a lawsuit on the basis of delayed discovery.

Exceptions for Lookback Windows

In recent years, as more and more victims have come forward with their experience of sexual assault, it has become increasingly apparent that there need to be more pathways to justice. Because of this, several states, including New York and California, have opened lookback windows.

These windows are predetermined periods during which victims of childhood sexual assault can sue an abuser. During this window, the statute of limitations is suspended so that additional claims that would have been time-barred can be filed anyway.

These lookback windows usually apply to all child victims, regardless of when their assault occurred or if their previous statute of limitations has lapsed. Reach out to a sexual assault victim lawyer to learn more about lookback windows and whether or not your state has one currently open.

Exceptions for Government Entities

Some states have different statutes of limitations for sexual assault lawsuits involving government entities. If a government entity was responsible for allowing your abuse to occur, you might be able to hold it liable in a lawsuit. Unfortunately, several states limit the amount of time victims can do this. The timeframe for suing a government entity is often less than the normal statute of limitations for normal sexual assault claims.

If you plan to sue a government entity for the sexual assault you endured, reach out to an attorney. Your sexual assault victim lawyer will be familiar with your state’s laws regarding suing government entities so that you can do so within the special statute of limitations.

Call Our Attorneys Today to File a Sexual Assault Lawsuit in Your State

All survivors deserve the opportunity to get justice for the wrongs done to them. For a free case evaluation with the dedicated sexual assault victim attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, call us today at (814) 826-3586.