Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Connecticut

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

We associate sexual abuse with criminal charges, and while this is often true, there are more legal implications in sex abuse cases. Victims may file civil lawsuits for damages, but the statute of limitations often poses a complication.

The statute of limitations is a law that places a deadline on when plaintiffs may file claims for damages. Different statutes of limitations apply to different kinds of cases. The limitations on sexual abuse claims are notoriously complex. Adult victims tend to have a shorter deadline to get their claims into court. Victims of childhood abuse have much longer deadlines. If the defendant is criminally convicted of certain sex crimes in relation to your claims, you are not bound by any deadline and may bring your claims even decades after the abuse. While abuse victims often wait years before coming forward with their claims, it is best to speak to the police and an attorney about it as soon as possible. The sooner we can take legal action, the better your odds of success are in court.

Get a free evaluation of your case by calling our Connecticut sexual abuse attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586.

Limitations on Cases Involving Adult Victims of Sexual Abuse in Connecticut

A statute of limitations is a law that sets a strict deadline for when plaintiffs must file civil lawsuits. The deadline depends on the nature of your case, as different types of claims fall under different statutes. The statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases is often complicated to deal with, as there is more than one. There are different deadlines for victims who were adults and those who were children when abuse occurred.

The statute of limitations for adult victims of sexual abuse can be found under C.G.S. § 52-77. This is the general statute of limitations for claims founded upon torts. It applies to sexual abuse claims for adults as well as various other torts, like assault. Under this law, a plaintiff who was 21 or older at the time they were sexually abused has 3 years to file a civil claim. This is an incredibly short deadline, especially for a sexual abuse case. Many victims wait years before even talking about their abuse. Our Connecticut sexual abuse lawyers can help you get your claim into court before the deadline expires.

Generally, if abuse is repeated over time, the plaintiff has 3 years from the most recent instance of abuse. This is important for plaintiffs who were abused regularly by someone close to them. For example, people are often taken advantage of by authority figures in their lives, and abuse happens for as long as abusers are allowed to get away with it.

Limitations on Lawsuits for Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Connecticut

Unfortunately, children are not exempt or immune from abusive adults. Many children are sexually abused by adults every year. These children often grow up with the physical and psychological scars of the abuse, and the pain follows them for decades. Because children cannot take legal action like adults can, their deadline to file a civil claim for sexual abuse is different.

According to C.G.S. § 52-577(d), plaintiffs who were younger than 21 when they were sexually abused have no longer than 30 years from the date they turn 21 to file a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse. Essentially, if you were younger than 21 when the abuse occurred, you have until you turn 51 to file a civil claim for damages.

This is a very long deadline, and it is so for a very good reason. People generally do not talk about sexual abuse right away. This is especially so for children. In fact, it is not uncommon for victims of childhood sexual abuse to wait until they are in their 30s, 40s, or even their 50s to come forward about the abuse. Under the normal statute of limitations, most victims of childhood sex abuse would never be able to seek compensation.

How Criminal Proceedings Might Affect Limitations on Your Civil Claim for Sexual Abuse in Connecticut

As mentioned briefly before, sexual abuse is often a criminal matter. When people come forward with claims of sexual abuse, there is a good chance the police will investigate and arrest the abuser. Criminal proceedings tend to take precedence over civil matters, and your civil lawsuit might be on hold while a criminal is pending. Under C.G.S. § 52-577(e), you have extra time to file a civil claim if the defendant is convicted of certain sexual offenses.

If the defendant in your civil case was convicted of either sexual assault in the first degree or aggravated sexual assault of a minor, you may bring a civil claim for damages at any time. There is no time limit in this scenario.

Why You Should Report Sexual Abuse as Soon as Possible in Connecticut

While it is very difficult to talk about sexual abuse, you should report your case to the authorities and contact an attorney as soon as possible. Doing so helps the police and your attorney collect evidence that might otherwise be lost if you wait to come forward.

Victims of sexual abuse are understandably very nervous about reporting to the police. Many fear they will not be believed or that the abuser might retaliate, perhaps violently. This is especially important for children. Kids are very easily intimidated by adults. Abusers often tell kids that if they tell anyone about the abuse, they hurt them and their families. As such, many children are frightened into silence for years.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse, report it quickly. The longer you wait, the more likely evidence and witnesses will be lost. Without evidence, the odds of holding the abuser accountable in criminal and civil courts diminish drastically.

Call Our Connecticut Sexual Abuse Attorneys for Help Today

Call our Connecticut sexual abuse attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 to get a free evaluation of your case.


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