The Statute of Limitations for a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against a Private K-12 School

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Parents often expect the highest quality education upon sending their children to private schools. When the opposite happens, and a child is sexually abused, parents and survivors need to learn how long they will have to sue and what, if anything, will stand in their way.

Depending on where you live, you may only have a year or two to sue a private K-12 school for sexual abuse. That said, some states have decades-long statute limitations for such civil cases. Because filing deadlines, and potential exceptions, vary so much from state to state, it is important for survivors to hire an attorney. Your lawyer can build a case before the filing deadline and help you prepare for the difficulties of suing a private institution. Remember, if you don’t sue within the statute of limitations, you may lose your opportunity to speak out against the private K-12 school responsible for your abuse.

We’re dedicated to helping survivors tell their stories and get justice. For a free case evaluation with the sexual abuse victim attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, call today at (814) 826-3586.

How Long Will I Have to Sue a Private K-12 School for Sexual Abuse?

If the unthinkable happened to you, and you were sexually abused at your private K-12 school, you may be just coming to terms with that reality years later. If you feel ready to speak out, you may wonder how much longer you have to sue. Depending on where you live, that can vary drastically.

If you were sexually abused as a child at a private K-12 school, you will likely have several years, possibly even decades, to hold the institution accountable in a civil lawsuit. That said, some states have very short filing deadlines for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. While states generally do not have special statutes for suing private schools versus public schools, they may only allow a year or two for victims to sue regardless of who the defendant is. Generally, the clock starts counting down the day a child victim turns 18.

To learn your state’s filing deadline, reach out to a sexual abuse victim attorney. Your lawyer can help you understand how the statute of limitations will impact your case and whether or not you can file a lawsuit.

It’s important that victims understand that lawsuits, especially those against institutions like private K-12 schools, generally need to be brought in the state where the abuse occurred. If you have since moved, you may be beholden to the statute of limitations in your previous state of residence.

There’s no standard filing deadline for sexual abuse victims to sue private K-12 schools. The statute of limitations varies, often drastically, from state to state. Because you may only have a short time to file a lawsuit, be sure to speak with an attorney as soon as you feel ready. Your lawyer can help you understand your options and proceed with litigation against the private K-12 school responsible for your abuse.

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against Private K-12 Schools?

Increasingly, states across the country have implemented exceptions to the statute of limitations to file a child sexual abuse claim against private K-12 schools and other defendants. Some states have extended filing deadlines for survivors of school sexual abuse to give victims more time to sue, and others have opened lookback windows. While there aren’t any explicit exceptions to the statute of limitations for victims to sue private K-12 schools, there are general exceptions applicable to anyone who meets the necessary criteria. That said, each state makes its own exceptions if any, so it’s important that victims do not rely on possible exceptions if they plan to sue.

Tolling

The most common exceptions that survivors can take advantage of are tolling for delayed discovery and incapacitation. Tolling for delayed discovery applies to individuals whose trauma was so severe that it prevented them from recognizing abuse earlier in life. The statute of limitations for individuals with incapacitation, whether it be age, disability, or mental illness, is tolled until the incapacitation is removed. Not all states allow tolling for incapacitation or delayed discovery, so it’s important to ask your attorney if your state does.

Lookback Windows

As more and more states have realized the epidemic of sexual abuse in schools, they have implemented lookback windows. These windows, which are generally only open for a year or two at a time, allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse to sue an abuser even if the previous statute of limitations has lapsed. Ask a sexual abuse student rights attorney if your state has a lookback window currently open. If so, you can file a lawsuit against the private K-12 school responsible for your abuse, regardless of when it happened.

What Else Should I Know About Suing a Private K-12 School for Sexual Abuse?

In addition to understanding the statute of limitations in their states, and the potential exceptions, school sexual abuse victims need to know more about the litigation process. It can be difficult to hold private institutions accountable for their actions, so hiring an experienced attorney is crucial for survivors.

Private schools are can be very powerful. They may have access to heaps of donor funds and be prepared to offer a lofty settlement so that you will not speak out about abuse. Private K-12 schools can feel like tight-knit communities, with involved alumni ready to disregard your experience of sexual abuse. Therefore, holding a responsible private school or a staff member accountable for sexual abuse can feel impossible. So, don’t do it alone. Survivors can enlist help from a skilled sexual abuse victim attorney with experience holding private institutions responsible.

The good news is that private schools that don’t receive federal funding are not protected by state laws that make it difficult to sue government agencies. That means there are generally no additional reporting requirements or deadlines victims must meet to sue a private K-12 school for sexual abuse successfully.

Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers Can Help You Sue a Private K-12 School Today

If you were sexually abused while enrolled at a private K-12 school, reach out to our lawyers for help. For a free case evaluation with the sexual abuse victim attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, call today at (814) 826-3586.