Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Mississippi

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

It is not unusual for victims of sexual abuse to wait a long time before coming forward about the abuse. This can make civil claims hard to try, as the statute of limitations in Mississippi is extremely limited.

Generally, the limitation period lasts for only 3 years. Exactly when it begins depends on whether you were an adult or child when the abuse took place. Over the years, many states have amended their laws to provide victims of sexual abuse with more time to file claims in civil court. Unfortunately, Mississippi is not one of these states. People abused as kids currently have only until age 24 to file a civil case. Even so, this does not mean change will never happen. A lawyer can help you if the laws ever change and a look-back period is opened. If you are currently time-barred, your lawyer can help you make sure you have calculated the limitations period correctly and explore tolling options that might buy you more time. You should contact a lawyer about your case as soon as possible.

For a free, private review of your claims, speak to our Mississippi sexual abuse lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin by calling (814) 826-3586.

How Long You Might Have to File a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse in Mississippi

As mentioned before, civil claims are usually restricted by laws that impose time limits on plaintiffs. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases in Mississippi is one of the strictest in the nation. Many would argue that the statute is overly harsh and prevents victims from obtaining justice. Different limitations period apply to plaintiffs who were children when they were abused versus those who were adults.

According to Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49(1), a plaintiff has only 3 years to file a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse. For adults, this limitations period begins almost right away. For kids, it does not begin until they reach the age of majority.

Plaintiffs abused as adults have 3 years from the date of the most recent instance of abuse. This is important to remember, as many victims are abused multiple times over a period of years. The limitation period should be calculated from the most recent instance of abuse, not the very first instance.

Plaintiffs abused as minors also only have 3 years to file a case. However, the limitations period is calculated from the day the plaintiff reaches the age of majority, which is 21 in Mississippi. In short, if you were sexually abused as a child, you have until you turn 24 to file a civil claim.

How the Statute of Limitations for Civil Sexual Abuse Claims Might Change in Mississippi

Mississippi has one of the most restrictive statutes of limitations for civil claims for sexual abuse, especially in cases of childhood abuse. Many other states have passed legislation or attempted to pass legislation that extended or even abolished the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse claims, but Mississippi has not. One might argue that Mississippi is way behind on the times.

It is normal for victims of sexual abuse to wait years before reporting anything. Many victims of childhood abuse do not come forward until they are in their 40s or 50s. The current 3-year limitation period is simply too restrictive for so many victims.

While there is no new legislation that would give victims of sexual abuse more time to come forward with civil claims, that does not mean there will never be one. You should contact an attorney even if you believe there is no way you can file a lawsuit for the abuse you endured. Our Mississippi sexual abuse attorneys can help you review other legal options, if any. If there are no legal options, your attorney can advise you on other ways you might seek justice.

What to Do if You Are Time-Barred from Suing for Sexual Abuse in Mississippi

If the statute of limitations on your claim has expired, you might be time-barred from filing your case. Even so, talk to a lawyer. Calculating the limitation period often requires a precise date on which the last instance of abuse happened. Many victims do not recall an exact date, and they might be shortchanging themselves when it comes to their time limit to file.

You should also talk to a lawyer just in case there has been a change in the law. By the time you or someone close to you files a civil claim for sexual abuse, lawmakers in Mississippi might have changed the statute of limitations. In many other states, when the statute is extended, a look-back window is opened that allows previously time-barred cases to be filed for a limited time. If this happens, get to a lawyer fast, as the look-back window might not be open very long.

How Soon You Should Contact a Lawyer About Sexual Abuse in Mississippi

Considering how short the limitations period is for sexual abuse cases, it is best to speak to a lawyer about your case as soon as possible. Ideally, you should contact the police and a lawyer immediately after the abuse. However, this is not always possible for various reasons. You might feel too ashamed to report the abuse. Perhaps you are afraid the abuser will retaliate. Maybe you have confided in family or friends about the abuse but were disbelieved. While contacting the authorities and a lawyer might feel hard, you should do so as soon as possible.

The sooner we get started, the stronger your case will likely be. One of the most difficult aspects of a sexual abuse case is evidence. When plaintiffs wait for years before beginning a case, important evidence is likely long gone. Even so, building a strong case might still be possible. Your attorney can help you.

Get Legal Assistance From Our Mississippi Sexual Abuse Attorneys

For a free, private review of your claims, speak to our Mississippi sexual abuse lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin by calling (814) 826-3586.


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