The Statute of Limitations to File Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Florida
Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience that impacts thousands of individuals throughout the country and Florida. People suffer abuse in a variety of situations ranging from assaults by individuals in power, trusted people, and complete strangers. While many sexual abusers face criminal charges for their conduct, victims have the right to hold their assailants liable for their injuries and emotional harm through civil lawsuits. However, there are specific deadlines that must be met if you wish to pursue a civil claim. The Law Office of Andrew Shubin is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the victims of sexual abuse and their families. Below, our Florida institutional sexual abuse victims attorney looks at Florida’s statute of limitations for sexual abuse in more detail.
The Statute of Limitations in Florida
Before getting into the specifics of Florida’s statute of limitations regarding sexual abuse cases, it is helpful to understand what a statute of limitations is. A statute of limitations is a law that prescribes the time frame in which someone must file a legal claim. These legal deadlines apply to both civil and criminal cases. They also vary by the type of claim being filed and the jurisdiction of the court.
Florida has a different statute of limitations for sexual abuse depending on whether it is a civil or criminal matter. For this article, we are focusing on the civil statute or the one that limits a victim’s ability to file a claim seeking monetary compensation for the harm they suffered due to the sexual abuse.
Furthermore, it is important to know what “sexual abuse” means in a legal sense. Often, the term is used to describe a wide range of sexual misconduct. In Florida, sexual abuse is classified as “sexual battery.”
Civil Lawsuits and Florida’s Statute of Limitation for Sexual Abuse
If you are a victim of sexual abuse or sexual battery in Florida, you are required to file a civil lawsuit within a specified time frame based on the age of the victim and the time the abuse was discovered.
Sexual Abuse of Adult Victims
If the victim of sexual abuse was over the age of 18, then they must file a civil claim within seven years of the date of the incident. However, there is a discovery and dependency exception. A victim of sexual abuse will have four years to file a lawsuit from the date they discover a link between the harm they are experiencing and the related abuse. This exception will allow some victims to file a claim beyond the prescribed seven-year deadline. Unfortunately, some abused individuals depend on their abuser for financial support or living accommodations. Under these circumstances, a victim of sexual abuse has four years from the time they abandon and no longer rely on the support of the abuser. The facts of each individual case will determine if these exceptions apply. If you believe you were or are the victim of sexual abuse, you should contact our experienced Florida attorney for sexual abuse victims of the Catholic Church immediately.
Sexual Abuse of Minor Children
Over the last few years, many states have been reconsidering their statute of limitations concerning childhood abuse. Many children who are abused at a young age struggle with disclosing the fact that they were abused or even understand what actually occurred. Additionally, many institutions have actively covered up or willfully ignored allegations of sexual abuse. Therefore, many states have waived or increased the time limit in which a civil lawsuit for childhood sexual abuse could be filed.
Florida addressed this years ago and does not have a statute of limitations if a victim is under the age of 16. If you are an adult survivor of sexual abuse or believe your child is a victim, contact our compassionate Florida sexual abuse lawyer.
Do Not Hesitate to File a Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse in Florida
Even though you might have many years to file a sexual abuse lawsuit in Florida, you should not delay moving forward with your claim. The first step is speaking with our experienced Florida attorney for victims of sexual abuse at camp.
The longer you wait to file a lawsuit, the more your chances of success decrease. Allegations of sexual abuse are never easy to prove, especially if years have passed since the abuse occurred. Even if you allow only a few months to pass, vital evidence could be unavailable, lost, or contaminated. Witness testimony also becomes less reliable the longer you wait. As memory fades, so does the credibility of the testimony a witness provides.
In addition to increasing the chances of success in a lawsuit, not delaying filing a claim brings you one step closer to a possible financial award. Monetary compensation might not heal your wounds but it could allow you to afford the help you need to move forward with your life.
Contact Our Florida Attorney for Victims of Sexual Abuse for a Free Consultation
Victims of sexual abuse have endured a horrifying experience that will often scar them for the rest of their lives. In some cases, victims of abuse might find some satisfaction if their abuser is charged and sentenced. However, the harm caused by sexual abuse is often much more significant. Victims have the right to hold their abusers and any institution that allowed the abuse to occur financially responsible for the injuries they caused. Andrew Shubin has been fighting for the rights of victims and their families for years. If you want to pursue a civil claim, you will have to comply with Florida’s statute of limitations. Therefore, do not hesitate to call our office at (814) 826-3586 and schedule a free, confidential consultation.