The Statute of Limitations to File Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Delaware
Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Victims of sexual abuse or assault could suffer a lifetime of devastating negative consequences. The impact of abuse is more than physical harm. Many victims carry emotional scars that adversely affect their future relationships and even employment opportunities. If the victim is a young child at the time of the abuse, these negative effects could be significantly worse. Fortunately, victims of abuse in Delaware are entitled to seek justice through the criminal system and financial compensation through the civil courts. However, there are strict deadlines for filing lawsuits for sexual abuse. Below, our experienced Delaware attorney for institutional sexual abuse victims from the Law Office of Andrew Shubin discusses these deadlines in detail.
The Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse in Delaware
States define specific time limits to file lawsuits in civil court. Statutes of Limitations set forth the deadlines a plaintiff has to bring an action against a potential defendant. The specific deadline will depend on the basis of your action.
Adult Sexual Abuse Victims
The deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit in Delaware is two years from the date of the injury. This deadline also includes claims based on sexual abuse. Therefore, if you are an adult and were the victim of sexual abuse, you have two years from the time of the wrongful act to file a personal injury claim.
Because you have two years to file a claim, you should not hesitate to call our experienced Delaware attorney for sexual abuse victims at the Catholic Church. A personal injury lawsuit often rests on the strength of the evidence presented. If you wait months or a year to file a claim, vital evidence could be lost or unavailable.
Minor Victims of Sexual Abuse
The two-year statute of limitations does not apply to minor victims of sexual abuse. In 2007 Delaware enacted a specific exception for minors, children under the age of 18, who were sexually abused by an adult. If a minor was sexually abused after 2007, they have an unlimited amount of time to file a civil lawsuit. This includes lawsuits brought by their parents or legal guardians. The 2007 change in the statute of limitations reflects the hard work advocacy groups have been doing across the country to help protect the legal rights of children who are victims of abuse. Unfortunately, if you were a childhood victim of sexual abuse before 2007, your claim is currently barred by Delaware’s existing law.
Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Delaware
Many children who are victims of sexual abuse take years, or even decades, to fully understand the harm they experienced. Delaware’s abolishment of a legally imposed deadline to file a civil lawsuit for minor victims of sexual abuse allows these individuals the time necessary to heal and cope without denying them their legal rights.
The damage a childhood victim of abuse suffers is often more than just physical. In many cases, the emotional and mental impact of the abuse continues to affect a person for years or even a lifetime. Many victims struggle with intimate relationships, self-esteem, and form an unhealthy idea of what constitutes a healthy adult relationship.
Many children will not be comfortable or able to tell someone about the harm they are enduring. Some common signs that sexually abused children exhibit include abrupt changes in behavior, low self-esteem, depression, or acting out inappropriately and sexually.
While parents want to safeguard their children, various other professional adults have a legal obligation to report behaviors or possible symptoms of sexual abuse. Teachers, medical professionals, police, social workers, and other caregivers have a legal obligation to protect the welfare of children in their charge. Unfortunately, many incidents of sexual abuse are perpetrated by the very same individual we trust to care for our children.
Filing a Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse in Delaware
If the victim of sexual abuse was a child, part of the problem is determining what person or entity should be held liable for the harm they suffered. Depending on when the abuse occurred, it might be difficult to locate the abuser. However, civil lawsuits are not limited to the actual induvial who sexually abused a child. In many cases, the child was in the care of an institution, school, or church. When an institution fails to protect a child or allows the abuse to occur, it could be held accountable for any injuries or damage.
Often, when a child is abused, it is done by an individual with authority over them. Teachers, clergy members, coaches, and other adults abuse the authority they have over children. In many cases, the victim almost feels obligated to comply with the adult. When the institutes that employ these individuals fail to put safeguards in place to protect the children, they could be held responsible along with the abuser. Our Delaware attorney for victims of sexual abuse by a coach will thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case to determine what parties or entities could be held liable.
Our Delaware Attorneys Help Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
A monetary award will not stop the pain associated with sexual abuse. However, financial compensation could bring a victim a sense of closure and justice. It is also another way of holding the responsible party or institution accountable for the harm they caused. The Delaware sexual abuse attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin are committed to fighting for the rights of victims and their families. Part of this commitment is ensuring cases are filed before the statute of limitations has expired. If you or a loved one was the victim of sexual abuse, contact our office to discuss your legal options. For a free and confidential consultation, call us today at (814) 826-3586.