Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Every state has a statute of limitations that sets deadlines for when plaintiffs are permitted to file civil lawsuits or when prosecutors must file a criminal charge. These laws are in place to ensure that defendants are not being harassed by claims that are decades old. The deadlines also help plaintiffs file a claim on a timely basis, typically before vital evidence is no longer available. Many states, including Texas, have specific statutes of limitations for sexual abuse. More importantly, lawmakers across the country have been modifying these statutes to extend the time childhood victims have to file a civil lawsuit.
The statute of limitations to file a civil claim for sexual abuse in Texas can vary depending on the circumstances of the case at hand. If the victim was an adult, then they will typically have up to five years from the date of the attack to bring their civil case to court. On the other hand, if the victim was a minor child, then they may have up to 30 years to file their claim.
Seek guidance and support from a Texas attorney for institutional sexual abuse victims by calling The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today at (814) 826-3586.
Texas’ Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations governs how long a victim of sexual abuse has to bring a lawsuit in civil court. Typically, if a plaintiff files a lawsuit after the statute of limitations expired, their case will be dismissed. For personal injury cases in Texas, the deadline is typically two years. However, in cases of sexual abuse or assault, the time limit is longer.
An important thing to remember is that the statute of limitations that was in place when the abuse occurred is the statute that is applied in your situation. This means, even though Texas has recently amended the statute of limitations regarding sexual abuse claims, your case could still be time-barred. It is critical to talk with our experienced Texas sexual abuse lawyer to understand how your case is affected by the various deadlines that are currently in place.
Statute of Limitations for Civil Claims in Texas
The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Texas only grants a plaintiff two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. However, for victims of sexual abuse, the statute of limitations depends on several factors. For example, if the victim of abuse was a minor child, the victim has up to 30 years to file a lawsuit. Perhaps more importantly, the 30-year clock does not start counting until the victim turns 18 years of age. Therefore, no matter when the abuse occurred, if the victim was a minor, they have until their 48th birthday to file a claim.
The statute of limitations for adults is also longer than the typical time limit for injury cases. If you were an adult victim of sexual abuse or assault, the deadline is typically five years from the date of the incident. For more information on how to report sexual abuse in Texas, call our attorneys.
Older Cases of Sexual Abuse in Texas
As stated above, a childhood victim has until they turn 48 to file a civil lawsuit. Texas, along with many other states, have been reexamining their statutes of limitations concerning childhood victims of abuse. The current statute was enacted on September 1, 2019. Therefore, if the abuse occurred after that date, a victim has until their 48th birthday to file a lawsuit.
There have been two previous amendments to the statute of limitations that could impact your case depending on when the abuse happened. As stated above, the statute of limitations that was in place at the time of the abuse will dictate when you must file a claim. If the date of the abuse happened between June 5, 1995 and September 1, 2015, then you must file a lawsuit within five years from the date of your 18th birthday. For childhood victims of abuse between September 1, 2015 and September 1, 2019, the statute of limitations deadline is 15 years from the day they turn 18. It is essential to discuss the details of your case with our Texas attorney for victims of sexual abuse by a coach to understand what deadline applies.
Exceptions and Extensions to Texas’ Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse
Victims of sexual abuse undergo a harrowing experience. For many of them, just being able to talk about the incident or disclose the abuse is difficult. This is especially the case if the victim was a child when the abuse occurred. Many children will have imperfect memories or not even understand that they were abused. This is one of the reasons why Texas recently increased the time a childhood victim has available to file a civil lawsuit.
There are additional tools available for plaintiffs that our Texas sexual abuse lawyer could use to possibly extend the deadline. For example, for the statute to start to run, the victim must be of “sound mind.” Therefore, if a childhood victim suffers from a condition that makes it impossible to understand what happened, the statute could be extended until the condition no longer persists.
There is also a discovery exception available. Many childhood victims might not have known they were abused as a child. For example, memories could be repressed entirely or they might have believed what occurred was not unusual or harmful. Therefore, even if the statutory deadline passes, the clock might not begin running until the victim knows or discovers that they were abused as a child.
Why is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Cases in Texas Extended When the Victim is a Child?
The reason the time limit to file a civil sexual abuse claim is longer when the victim is a minor child is because kids often face challenges in talking about and understanding abuse. The legal system understands that it might take time for a child to realize the full impact of what happened to them. By giving more time to file a claim, the law aims to make it fairer for young survivors. This way, they have a better chance to seek justice when they are ready, considering the emotional and psychological effects that may take time to become clear as they grow older.
Reasons Why You Should Not Wait to Call Our Lawyers if You Suffered Sexual Abuse in Texas
Despite potentially having multiple years to bring your civil sexual abuse claim to court, you should not wait to reach out to our legal team. For instance, the following are all reasons why you should begin working on your case as quickly as possible after your attack:
Preservation of Evidence
First, calling our attorneys promptly is essential for the preservation of evidence. Time-sensitive evidence, such as physical injuries, DNA, or witness testimonies, can be critical in building a strong case. If you wait to begin working on your case, then this evidence may deteriorate or become misplaced. The sooner you reach out to our team, the more efficiently we can collect the information needed to recover damages on your behalf.
Protecting Your Rights
Also, by reaching out to our attorneys without delay, you may ensure the protection of your legal rights. Our legal team can provide guidance on your rights as a victim of sexual abuse in Texas and help you navigate the legal process. Waiting may inadvertently compromise your ability to assert these rights effectively.
Emotional Support and Advocacy
Furthermore, immediate contact with our attorneys allows you to access emotional support and advocacy services quickly. Dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse can be emotionally challenging, and our legal team is equipped to provide compassionate assistance. Waiting to seek support may prolong emotional distress and complicate the healing process.
Access to Resources and Information
By contacting our attorneys promptly, you may also gain access to valuable resources and information specific to your case. Our legal professionals can provide detailed information about the options available to you, including potential compensation and the steps involved in pursuing a lawsuit. Timely contact helps ensure you are well-informed and can make proper decisions regarding your case.
Different Types of Sexual Abuse Lawsuits that May Be Filed in Texas
There are several different types of sexual abuse that can occur. For instance, if you suffered any of the following, then our Texas lawyer for sexual abuse victims can help file your case in accordance with the applicable statute of limitations:
Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse cases in Texas encompass any form of sexual exploitation or mistreatment involving minors. This category includes offenses such as molestation, incest, statutory rape, and other sexually harmful actions perpetrated against individuals under the age of 18.
Institutional Sexual Abuse
Institutional sexual abuse in Texas involves the violation of an individual’s rights within organizations such as schools, churches, or youth groups. This form of abuse can encompass a range of offenses, including the misuse of power, negligence, or failure to protect individuals from sexual misconduct. Texas law recognizes the seriousness of institutional sexual abuse and provides legal measures to address such offenses. Cases falling under this category often involve complex legal considerations, emphasizing the responsibility institutions bear to prevent and address incidents of sexual abuse within their structures.
Sexual harassment cases involve unwanted sexual advances, comments, or behavior that create a hostile environment in the workplace, educational institutions, or other settings. Texas law prohibits sexual harassment in various contexts, emphasizing the right to a workplace or educational environment free from such misconduct.
Sex trafficking cases involve the recruitment, harboring, transportation, or receipt of individuals through force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Texas addresses sex trafficking as a severe crime, with laws aimed at preventing and prosecuting offenders.
Online Sexual Exploitation
Online sexual exploitation cases involve the use of technology for sexual misconduct, including the production, distribution, or possession of explicit materials involving minors. Texas has laws addressing the digital aspects of sexual exploitation to protect individuals from online harm.
Non-Consensual Pornography (Revenge Porn)
Non-consensual pornography cases involve the distribution of intimate images without the subject’s consent. Texas has laws criminalizing revenge porn, recognizing the harm caused by the unauthorized sharing of explicit content.
Elder Sexual Abuse
Elder sexual abuse cases involve the victimization of older adults. This may occur in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or other settings where vulnerable elderly individuals are subjected to sexual exploitation or misconduct.
How Our Law Firm Can Help Victims of Sexual Abuse in Texas
Sexual abuse is a devastating experience that impacts the victim and their family. Many victims struggle with emotional trauma in addition to the physical harm. The compassionate staff and attorneys for sexual abuse victims of the Catholic Church at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin have provided victims of abuse and their families professional legal assistance for years. If you were the victim of abuse, either as an adult or a child, you have legal rights and could be entitled to financial compensation. A civil lawsuit might provide the sense of justice and monetary award you need to help you move forward with your life.
Call a Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today for Help with Your Case
For a free and confidential appointment, call our experienced Texas attorney for sexual abuse victims at (814) 826-3586.