Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Kentucky

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Sexual abuse is infamously underreported. Victims often wait decades to come forward with claims. This can make filing civil claims challenging, as the statute of limitations might expire.

In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for civil claims related to sexual abuse varies based on the age of the victim. Adult victims might have only a single year to file claims. There may be more time in cases of abuse stemming from human trafficking. If you were sexually abused as a child, you might have as long as 10 years from the date of the abuse. You might have even more time depending on when you discovered or realized the abuse. Time limits on sexual abuse cases are something of a hot topic in the legal field. In Kentucky, a new law was introduced that would have eliminated the statute of limitations, but it was not passed. Even so, time limits might change in the future. If you wait to come forward with your claims, you risk losing your right to sue. If the statute of limitations expires, your case will likely be dismissed.

Call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 to speak with our Kentucky sexual abuse lawyers for a free, private case assessment.

The Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Claims in Kentucky

Usually, a single statute of limitations governs a specific civil claim. Sexual abuse claims are different. The statute of limitations varies based on the age of the victim. People who were sexually abused when they were kids generally have more time. The time limit for adult victims may also vary depending on whether they were abused as part of a human trafficking scheme.

Adult Victims

If you were sexually abused when you were 18 or older, the statute of limitations for your claims can be found under KRS § 413.140(1)(a). Under this law, you have only 1 year from the abuse to file a civil lawsuit. This statute is like a catch-all that applies to numerous injury claims. Since sexual abuse against adults is not specifically covered elsewhere, this statute often applies.

While a single year is a short time limit, your attorney can help you stretch it out as long as possible. Sexual abuse claims are tricky because the abuse often happens repeatedly over an extended period. Some victims are abused for years before they come forward with their claims. The statute of limitations begins with the most recent instance of abuse. Even if you were first abused several years ago, you might still have time to file, depending on when the most recent abuse happened.

Some sexual abuse cases stem from human trafficking. Under KRS § 413.2485(2), adults who were sexually abused related to human trafficking may have 5 years from the most recent act of abuse to file a claim. Alternatively, you might have 5 years from the day you discover the abuse, identify the abuser, or from when the defendant is criminally convicted. You would apply whichever time limit expires last.

Minor Victims

If you were sexually abused as a child, even if you are now an adult, you likely have much more time to file a civil claim. Even so, the time limit is not long enough for many plaintiffs. According to KRS § 413.249(2), you must file your claims based on one of four different deadlines. The time limit that expires last is the one that should apply to your case.

Civil claims for childhood sexual abuse must be filed within 10 years of the last instance of abuse. You might instead file your claims 10 years from the date you realized or discovered the abuse. This is common in cases where victims suppress memories of the abuse and do not uncover them until years later. You can file your claim 10 years after you turn 18. Finally, childhood sexual abuse victims can file civil lawsuits within 10 years of the defendant’s criminal conviction.

Exactly how long a plaintiff has to file depends on their unique circumstances. While all plaintiffs have 10 years, the clock in your case might start ticking at a different time than someone else’s. Our Kentucky sexual abuse attorneys can help you determine when the statute of limitations begins to run in your case.

Updates to the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Claims in Kentucky

In the legal field, the statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims is frequently debated. Many states have passed legislation that extended the statute of limitations or abolished them altogether. Lawmakers in Kentucky tried to pass similar legislation in 2023.

House Bill 246 was introduced in 2023 and would have eliminated the statute of limitations in childhood sexual abuse claims. Under the new law, plaintiffs who were victimized as minors would be able to bring a civil lawsuit at any time, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

This bill has not passed as of yet, but that does not mean that lawmakers will stop pushing for change. No matter how long ago you were sexually abused, talk to an attorney about the possibility of bringing a lawsuit.

What Happens if I Wait to Come Forward with Sexual Abuse Claims in Kentucky?

Abuse victims commonly wait many years before reporting their claims to anyone. In cases of childhood abuse, kids are very easily manipulated by adult abusers. Many plaintiffs report being threatened as children and being too afraid to tell anyone about the abuse. IN many cases, abusers are close with their victims, and children cannot escape to report the abuse for years.

In cases of adult victims, abuse might be tied to domestic relationships. A person sexually abused by a romantic partner or spouse might be too ashamed to report the abuse. Many victims are afraid that nobody will believe them.

If you wait to come forward with abuse, there might still be hope to build a strong case. Evidence sometimes disappears over time, but there might still be evidence out there. If you were ever treated at a hospital for injuries sustained during abuse, your medical records might make for powerful evidence. If anyone else knew about the abuse, they might be able to testify as witnesses.

Speak to Our Kentucky Sexual Abuse Lawyers for Legal Help

Call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 to speak with our Kentucky sexual abuse lawyers for a free, private case assessment.


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