What is the Statute of Limitations if You Were Sexually Abused by a Coach?
Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Childhood sexual abuse by a coach or another trusted adult is harmful to the victim and their family. The anger, trauma, and shame associated with sexual abuse can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, you do not have a lifetime to file a lawsuit. However, with the increased media scrutiny on organizations such as the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America, and youth athletic associations, states have been reevaluating their statute of limitations regarding childhood sexual abuse. Below, our attorney for victims of sexual abuse by a coach looks at the prevailing trend in statutes of limitations for sexual abuse by coaches.
Statute of Limitations in Sexual Abuse Cases Involving Coaches and Minors
When a child is the victim of sexual abuse by a coach, the abuse might not be reported at the time it occurs. Many factors influence what happens. In some situations, a child does not understand that they were the victim of sexual abuse. Other times, the shame and emotional trauma associated with the incident forces a child to repress or hide their memories. When the abuser is a trusted and respected member of the community, it is not uncommon for people not to believe the accusations.
Because of the above factors, and many others, a survivor of abuse might not report the incident until years after the fact. Unfortunately, because civil lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations, or a deadline, many victims are prohibited from pursuing personal injury lawsuits against their assailant or the organization that permitted the abuse to occur.
Each state has a statute of limitations that governors when a lawsuit could be filed. For example, in Pennsylvania, you have four years to file a lawsuit based on a contractual dispute. Part of the justification is to protect potential defendants from litigating a case years after the fact when evidence is no longer available. It also forces a plaintiff to move forward with their claim promptly. However, when it takes decades for a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a coach to finally come forward, they could be barred by the very laws that should be there to protect them.
“Look Back” Windows for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Some states are taking a hard look at their statute of limitations regarding sexual abuse cases involving children. Eight states have recently enacted “look back” statutes that open a window for abuse victims to file a lawsuit no matter when the abuse occurred. These changes offer survivors of abuse the opportunity to file a civil lawsuit even if they were previously barred by the statute of limitations. Our experienced institutional sexual abuse attorney for victims will review your situation, even if you were told you did not have a case in the past.
New York is one of the states that enacted a look-back window. In August of 2019, the New York Child Victims Act was signed into law. The act opened a limited period where victims of childhood sexual abuse are permitted to file civil claims against their abuser and an institution, such as a school or athletic association. The act allows a victim to file a claim during this look back period no matter when the abuse occurred, even if it falls outside the statute of limitations. The window for filing a claim closes on January 14, 2021.
New Jersey followed suit, opening a look back window for two years. The New Jersey act also increases the age limit for filing a lawsuit based on childhood sexual abuse to fifty-five, or seven years from discovering the abuse, whichever one is later. Additionally, it provides a two-year window, beginning December 1, 2019, for victims to file a claim no matter when the abuse. The act also opened certain non-profit institutions that were previously protected by law to civil liability. If you, or a loved one, were the victim of childhood sexual abuse by a coach or another trusted adult, The Law Offices of Andrew Shubin can help you evaluate and file your lawsuit.
Vermont took it another step further and abolished its statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse. In total, eight states have adopted look back periods to allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to file civil claims. The other states are Arizona, California, Hawaii, Montana, North Carolina, Montana, and the District of Columbia. Because only Vermont has completely removed any limitation to filing a claim, it is crucial to contact our lawyer for victims of sexual abuse immediately so you do not miss these short windows.
States That Have Extended Their Statute of Limitations for Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Coaches
In addition to the eight states that have recently enacted look back windows, seven others have amended their statute of limitations allowing victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file a lawsuit. In addition to the increased time frame, many states enacted new discovery rules that will enable victims to sue as an older adult if they can demonstrate that they discovered the abuse recently.
Alabama recently raised the age limit to bring a lawsuit for sexual abuse to twenty-five from twenty-one. In a more drastic measure, Rhode Island increased the age limit to fifty-three from twenty-five. It is important to note that this only extends to the actual abuser. The age limit in Rhode Island to file a lawsuit against an institution is twenty-one. Pennsylvania raised the age to fifty-five from thirty. The other states that increased the age limits of their statute of limitations include Connecticut, Tennessee, Texas, and Michigan. No matter the state you reside in, if you were the victim of childhood sexual abuse by a coach, contact our knowledgeable attorney for victims of sexual abuse by Coach Conrad Avondale Mainwaring or other athletic coach.
Contact our Attorney for Sexual Abuse by a Coach to Understand Your Rights
Victims of sexual abuse by a coach will be adversely impacted throughout much of their lives. Coping with the pain and anger following abuse is difficult. While money will not heal the wounds, financial compensation could provide the means to move forward as well as a sense of justice. Our sexual abuse by a coach attorney will help you understand your rights and the timeframe you have to file a lawsuit. Call the Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 to schedule a confidential appointment.