Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Colorado

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Sexual abuse survivors often have a difficult time knowing when they can bring their case.  There are statutes of limitations – laws that block lawsuits after a certain time has expired – for both criminal cases and civil cases.  These laws often have different timeframes in which charges or claims can be filed, and finding out what timeline applies to your case is difficult.

Our lawyers can help research your case, look at when it happened, and compare it to the laws in effect at the time to help determine what statute of limitations applies to your case.  Colorado has recently had issues where the law was changed, but then certain parts of the law that would have been retroactive were struck down by the Colorado Supreme Court.  As such, many people will only have 6 years from the last date of abuse or 6 years from when they turned 18 to file their case, blocking their case.  However, more recent cases might have no time limit whatsoever.

For help with your claim, call our lawyers for sexual abuse victims in Colorado today at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin by dialing (814) 826-3586.

How Statutes of Limitations Work for Sexual Abuse Cases in Colorado

Statutes of limitations for sexual abuse claims are an incredibly big issue in the law right now.  Lawmakers and state officials started to realize in the past decade that short statutes of limitations that were in place for many sexual assault and sexual abuse claims were far too short.  This was, in part, spurred by the realization that many people abused as children don’t speak out until well into their adulthood – such as their 50s or 60s.  As such, statutes of limitations needed to change.

Usually, tort claims in Colorado must be filed within 3 years.  This is typical for lawsuits based on negligence, such as car accidents.  However, assault and battery and other “intentional” torts must be filed within just 1 year of the assault.  Before a separate statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases, this 1-year statute of limitations would have applied and been incredibly strict.

However, when injuries happen to minors, they usually get to wait until they turn 18 before the statute of limitations period begins to run.  This same rule applies to sexual abuse cases as well.

Old Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse in Colorado (Pre-2022 Cases)

Because those statutes of limitations were so short, Colorado created a new 6-year statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases.  This can be seen in old versions of § 13-80-103.7 C.R.S., and that version of the statute controls when it comes to cases where the abuse took place after that law was enacted, which covers most recent cases.

For reasons we will get into in a moment, any case that was not yet out of time when that law went into effect is governed by the newer statute of limitations.  However, cases that occurred earlier might be subject to this 6-year filing deadline instead, blocking them from being filed today.  Because of the way these laws were written and enacted, it can be extremely confusing as to what law applies to your case, so please have our attorneys for sexual abuse victims in Colorado examine your case for a better understanding of when you have to file.

Keep in mind that this 6-year law applied to minors and adults, but that the 6-year clock did not start running for minors until they turned 18.  This means many cases involving abused minors where the deadline had not yet run by 2022 are governed by the new law instead.

New Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse in Colorado (2022 and Later Cases)

Because limitations periods often run before childhood sexual abuse victims come forward, the legislature completely did away with the statute of limitations.  This means that new cases governed under the new version of § 13-80-103.7 have no statute of limitations and can be filed at any time.  But it is important to understand what cases that law applies to.

This law went into effect January 1, 2022, so any sexual abuse that happened after that date is governed by the new law.  This means that if you were sexually abused in 2022, 2023, or later, your case has no statute of limitations, and you can call our lawyers for help whenever you strike up the courage to make such an important move.

This law also explicitly says that it extends the statute of limitations on any case that had not yet been time-barred by the old rule.  That means that any sexual abuse that happened within 6 years prior to January 1, 2022 – i.e., since January 1, 2016 – should also have no statute of limitations.

This should extend the deadline for open cases involving abused minors as well.  That means that anyone who was abused as a minor but turned 18 after January 1, 2016 should also have their case’s filing deadline extended indefinitely, too.

How to Colorado Supreme Court Changed the Statute of Limitations and Lookback Window for Colorado Sexual Abuse Cases

Along with the provision that ended the statute of limitations for open cases, there was a provision in the law that created a new cause of action for old cases that were time-barred under the old rules.  This would have essentially said that it did not matter if the old case was blocked by the statute of limitations because victims now get a new cause of action to sue their abusers, reaching as far back as they need to to hold them accountable.  Unfortunately, the Supreme Court of Colorado struck this provision down.

In Aurora Public Schools v. A.S. (2023), the Colorado Supreme Court said that reviving time-barred causes of action violated the Colorado Constitution, so that portion of the 2022 law needed to be struck down.  This means that the furthest back you can reach for a lawsuit is to the periods discussed above.

However, keep in mind that this forward-looking portion of the law is still in effect: new cases after January 1, 2022 have no statute of limitations under current Colorado law.

Call Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers for Victims in Colorado Today

Call (814) 826-3586 for a free, confidential case evaluation with the lawyers for sexual abuse victims in Colorado at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.