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Sexual Assault Injury Attorneys

In different states across the country, victims of sexual assault are allowed to pursue civil charges in addition to a criminal case. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a sexual assault, you may be entitled to recover compensation for the damages suffered through a civil lawsuit.

Woman holding up hand in protest to sexual assault

A study published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that just over 300,000 people were victims of sexual assault in 2013. By 2017, this figure had risen to be closer to 394,000 victims – a nearly 25% increase in just 4 years. This could either indicate that the number of sexual assaults occurring is on the rise or that the number of victims coming forward is on the rise.

While many victims seek justice through a criminal case, depending on which state the incident occurred in, the victim may also be able to sue the abuser in a civil personal injury case to get compensation for damages that occurred during or as a result of the assault.

Elements of Sexual Assault Injuries

In a personal injury case of this nature, three distinct elements must be proven by the victim’s legal team to be awarded compensation in a civil sexual assault case. These three elements include:

  1. The victim was sexually assaulted by the assailant.
  2. The victim suffered injuries or damages as a result of the sexual assault.
  3. The defendant was the direct cause of the victim’s injuries and that damage was a result of intention or negligence on the part of the defendant.

Typically, the defendant is responsible for the victim’s damages in a sexual assault case because it was their intention to assault the victim, but in cases where negligence was the cause, further elements must be proven to the court to show that someone was responsible for the damages that the victim suffered. These elements must be proven to show negligence:

  1. The defendant owed a duty of care to keep the victim safe from harm.
  2. This duty of care was breached by the defendant.
  3. As a result, this breach of duty directly led to the victim being injured
  4. The victim suffered from actual emotional or physical damages as a result of the breach of the defendant’s duty.

Compensation Awarded to Victims of Sexual Assault Injuries

In a sexual assault injury case, a jury or judge will decide how much a victim is awarded based on the level of damages that the defendant is responsible for causing. These are the types of damages that victims are often compensated for in these types of cases:

  • Physical & emotional suffering – Sexual assault is understood to be a traumatic event that often leads to long-term psychological damage for victims. To compensate for these damages, the court may award a sexual assault victim with a financial sum to cover costs for therapy or medical treatment.
  • Property damage – if the victim’s property was damaged during the assault, then a victim may be able to recover compensation to cover the costs of replacing or fixing that property. For example, if the victim’s car window was smashed in by the defendant during the assault.
  • Medical bills & healthcare costs – The victim can sue the defendant for medical bills incurred as necessary treatment resulting from the sexual assault. This can also apply to ongoing treatments or counseling.
  • Loss of affection or companionship – If the victim suffers a loss in companionship or love because of the sexual assault, they may be able to sue for the suffering resulting from that lost companion or relationship.
  • Lost wages & future earning capacity – If a sexual assault prevents a victim from going back to work or making income, then the victim can sue the defendant to recover damages for their lost wages & employment opportunities.
  • Possible punitive damages – For offenders who intentionally harm others or act in egregiously negligent ways, the court may award the victim with punitive damages in an effort to dissuade other individuals from engaging in the same behavior.

Statute of Limitations in Civil Sexual Assault Cases

While criminal cases involving sexual assault or violence have no statute of limitations in a number of states, there is often a limit on how long a victim has to file a civil case after the alleged incident occurred. However, the statute can also be extended or may even have no limit in some states for cases that involve child sex abuse claims. Here is an overview of the statute of limitations length by the state for civil cases of sexual assault:

 

State

Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations

Extension in Child Sex Abuse Claims

Alabama 2-years from the date of the alleged incident No Extension
Alaska 3-years from the date of the alleged incident for misdemeanor sexual assault, incest, felony indecent exposure, and misdemeanor sexual abuse of a minor. Action can be brought at any time for felony sex trafficking, unlawful exploitation of a minor, felony sexual assault, or felony sexual abuse of a minor.
Arizona 2-years from the alleged incident for most types of cases Possible extension in statute for cases involving children
Arkansas 3-years from the alleged incident 3-year extension from the moment of discovery if the victim was under the age of 18 when the sexual abuse was alleged to have occurred.
California 2-years from the alleged incident 8-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of majority or a 3-year extension from the date in which the victim discovers the causal connection f the injury. Whichever date expires later is the limit.
Colorado 2-years from the alleged incident 6-year extension from the date of when the victim reaches the age of majority or 6 years after removing a disability.
Connecticut No statute of limitations for Sexual Assault 1 or Aggravated Sexual Assault 1 cases 30-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of maturity in cases involving sexual assault, exploitation, or sexual abuse of a minor.
Delaware 2-years from the alleged incident No time limit for cases involving claims of sexual abuse of a minor.
District of Columbia 3-years from the alleged incident 7-year extension from the date of the victim’s 18th birthday or a 3-year extension from the date which the victim knew or should have known.
Florida 7-years from when the victim turns the age of majority
4-years from when the victim is no longer a dependent of the abuser
4-years from the time of discovery
Whichever expires later.
No time limit for cases involving a sexual battery offense on a victim under the age of 16.
Georgia 2-years from the alleged incident 5-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of majority.
*For victims over the age of 65, the statute is tolled until the violation has been reported to or been discovered by a prosecuting attorney, government agency, or law enforcement.
Hawaii 2-years from the alleged incident Statute is tolled if the victim was under the age of consent at the time of the alleged incident occurring.
Idaho 2-years from the alleged incident 5-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of majority.
Illinois 2-years from the alleged incident in most cases or no statute of limitations if the case involved a Class X or Class 1 felony. Action can be brought at any time for cases involving childhood sexual abuse claims.
Indiana 2-years from the alleged incident For child sexual abuse cases, 7-year extension from the date which the alleged incident occurred or 4-year extension from when the victim is no longer a dependent of the alleged abuser.
Iowa 2-years from the alleged incident 4-year extension from the date of discovery.
5-year extension from the victim’s last therapy session or school enrollment if the abuser was a counselor or therapist.
Kansas 2-years from the alleged incident in most cases 3-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of 18 or a 3-year extension from the date when the victim realizes they have suffered an illness or injury from sexual abuse.
Kentucky 1-year from the alleged incident 5-year extension from the date of the alleged perpetrator’s last act, 5-year extension from the date of discovery, or 5-year extension from when the victim reaches the age of 18.
Louisiana 1-year from the alleged incident 10-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of 18 which does not start counting until the victim reaches the age of majority.
Maine 2-years from the alleged incident in most cases No time limit for cases involving claims of sexual abuse of a minor.
Maryland 3-years from the alleged incident 7-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of majority.
Massachusetts 3-years from the alleged incident 35-year extension from the date at which the alleged incident occurred or 7-year extension from the time of discovery.
*Statute is tolled until the victim reaches the age of majority.
Michigan 2-years from the alleged incident No Extension
Minnesota 6-years from the alleged incident if the victim knew or had to reason to believe that their injury was caused by sexual abuse Statute is tolled until one year after the victim reaches the age of majority. This extends the statute to when the victim reaches the age of 25.
Mississippi 3-years from the alleged incident 3-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of majority.
Missouri 5-years from the alleged incident 10-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of 21 or 3-year extension from the date of discovery. Whichever occurs later.
Montana 3-years from the alleged incident 3-year extension from the date of the alleged incident or 3-year extension from the date of discovery of the causal connection of the injury.
Nebraska 4-years from the alleged incident 4-year extension from when the victim reaches the age of 21.
Nevada 2-years from the alleged incident 10-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of 18 or from the date of discovery of the causal connection of the injury.
New Hampshire 3-years from the alleged incident 12-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of 18 or 3-year extension from the time of discovery.
New Jersey 2-years from the alleged incident 2-year extension from the date of “reasonable discovery.”
New Mexico 3-years from the alleged incident 3-year extension from the date of discovery or by the victim’s 24th birthday. Whichever date occurs first.
New York 5-years from the alleged incident in most cases 5-year extension from when the alleged incident occurred for sexual crimes involving a minor.
North Carolina 3-years from the alleged incident Statute can be extended depending on the minor’s “incapacity” status.
North Dakota 2-years from the alleged incident 10-year extension from the date at which the victim knew or reasonably should have known that the alleged incident was child sex abuse.
Ohio 2-years from the alleged incident 12-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of 18.
Oklahoma 2-years from the alleged incident 5-year extension from the date when the abuser is released from a correctional facility or jail.
*Statute is tolled until the victim reaches the age of 18.
Oregon 2-years from the alleged incident 5-year extension from the date which the victim discovers the causal connection of their injury or when the victim reaches the age of 40. Whichever comes later.
Pennsylvania 2-years from the alleged incident 12-year extension from the date which the victim reaches the age of maturity.
Rhode Island 3-years from the alleged incident 7-year extension from the date which the alleged incident occurred or 7-year extension from the date of discovery.
South Carolina 3-years from the alleged incident 6-year extension from the date of when the victim reaches the age of 21 or 6 years after the date of discovery.
South Dakota 3-years from the alleged incident 3-year extension from the date of the alleged act or 3 years from the date of discovery.
Tennessee 1-year from the alleged incident *Statute is tolled until the victim reaches the age of 18.
Texas 2-5 years from the alleged incident *Statute is tolled until the victim reaches the age of 18.
Utah 4-years from the alleged incident Action can be brought at any time for cases involving claims of child sex abuse.
Vermont 3-years from the alleged incident 6-year extension from the date of the alleged incident or 6 years from the date of discovery.
Virginia 2-years from the alleged incident 2-year extension from the date of the alleged incident.
*Statute is tolled until the victim reaches the age of 18.
Washington 3-years from the alleged incident Within 3 years of alleged incident or time of discovery.
*Statute is tolled until the victim reaches the age of 18.
West Virginia 2-years from the alleged incident 2-year extension from the date when the victim turns the age of 18.
Wisconsin 2-years from the alleged incident Statute is extended until the victim’s 35th birthday.
Wyoming 4-years from the alleged incident 8-year extension from the date when the victim reaches the age of 18 or a 3-year extension from the date of discovery.

Contact an Experienced Sexual Assault Attorney Today

Filing a lawsuit for sexual assault may not take make things right again, but it can at least help victims and their families get financial compensation for the injustices they’ve had to suffer through because of the incident.

Our team of personal injury attorneys has helped victims of sexual assault and their families secure millions in compensation for the injustice they’ve suffered. Call us at 1-833-225-5454 or send us an email at [email protected] to get a free case evaluation today.

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I was injured in a car accident last year in March. The lawyer made sure that I went to all of my chiropractor sessions and that I get the medical attention needed. I also got MRI's as needed and also got back injections as needed. He was very persistent on contacting me, even when I wasn't reachable, and making sure that I got treated right and paid a good amount at the end. He is a very respectful person and great lawyer. I do recommend him and his entire friendly staff.