California to Eliminate Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits

California to Eliminate Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse LawsuitsCalifornia has eliminated the statute of limitations for people to file lawsuits over allegations of child sexual assault, under a new law Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in October 2023. The new law won’t apply to instances of sexual assault that occurred before the bill took effect, on January 1, 2024. However, it does eliminate an unfair deadline California law placed on people who suffered abuse as children.

It’s important to remember that survivors of child sexual abuse are often unable to deal with what happened to them until much, much later. Many minors who suffer sexual assault don’t think they will be believed, are too ashamed to tell anyone what happened, or believe there will be negative consequences if they tell. This law eliminates that issue by eliminating the statute of limitations altogether for abuse occurring on or after January 1, 2024.

In 2019, California already expanded the filing requirements for adults suing for child sexual abuse. The state passed a law that allowed people to file lawsuits until age 40 – compared with the prior deadline of age 26 – and provided a three-year “lookback” window that began in 2020 and expired at the end of 2022.

The current bill only allows for future cases of abuse, but we believe it is a step in the right direction.

What is delayed disclosure?

Delayed disclosure in the context of sexual abuse lawsuits refers to a situation where a survivor of sexual abuse does not immediately or promptly disclose the abuse that they have experienced. Instead, the survivor may take a significant amount of time before revealing the details of the abuse to others, whether it be to family members, friends, authorities, or legal professionals.

There are various reasons why survivors of sexual abuse may delay disclosure, and these reasons can be complex and deeply personal. Some common factors contributing to delayed disclosure include fear of retaliation, feelings of shame or guilt, concerns about not being believed, or a desire to repress traumatic memories.

Unfortunately, delayed disclosure can present challenges in sexual abuse lawsuits. It may affect the availability of evidence, as memories can fade over time, and physical evidence may become harder to obtain. However, it’s crucial to recognize that delayed disclosure does not diminish the validity of the survivor’s experience, and courts often take into account the psychological and emotional challenges that survivors face in coming forward.

What all this means is that, often, survivors of child sexual abuse often don’t disclose what happened to them or file a report until much later in life – if at all. The San Francisco Chronicle recently investigated several California schools and reviewed over 50 lawsuits filed by survivors. The average age of initiating a lawsuit was about 49 years old. This lines up with studies performed that show most victims don’t come forward until age 50, and that 86% of child sexual abuse goes unreported.

How can our lawyers in Los Angeles help with a child sex abuse claim?

If you are pursuing a child sex abuse claim, our dedicated team of lawyers in Los Angeles is here to provide compassionate support and effective legal representation. Here’s how we can assist you:

  • Empathetic understanding: Our lawyers approach child sex abuse cases with sensitivity and understanding. We recognize the emotional and psychological impact these cases can have, and we are committed to supporting you throughout the legal process. Our lawyers act as your advocate, ensuring that your voice is heard and your rights are protected. We work to create a supportive environment for survivors of child sex abuse.
  • Thorough case evaluation: We conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your case, considering the details of the abuse, the identity of the perpetrator, and any available evidence. This evaluation helps us understand the strength of your claim.
  • Legal guidance and preparation: We provide clear and informative legal guidance, explaining your rights and options. Our team ensures that you have the information needed to make informed decisions about pursuing a legal claim. We also handle the paperwork, filings, and communications with the involved parties, allowing you to focus on your well-being.
  • Gathering evidence: We work to gather relevant evidence to support your case. This may include medical records, witness statements, expert opinions, and any available documentation of the abuse.
  • Negotiation with opposing parties: We engage with the opposing parties, such as the accused or their legal representatives, and negotiate on your behalf. Our goal is to seek a fair and just resolution, including compensation for the harm you’ve experienced.
  • Court representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, our experienced litigators are prepared to represent you in court. We present a compelling case, advocating for your rights and seeking justice.
  • Coordination with support services: We also collaborate with mental health professionals, counselors, and support services to ensure you have access to the emotional and psychological support you need throughout the legal process.

Your well-being is our top priority, and our Los Angeles child sexual abuse attorneys are committed to helping you navigate the legal system while providing compassionate and dedicated representation. If you or someone you know is considering a child sex abuse claim, please reach out for a confidential consultation to discuss your case and explore your best course of action. We have achieved several multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients.

Here at Taylor & Ring, our Los Angeles sexual assault lawyers file claims against the perpetrators of sexual assault and any people or entities that failed to prevent the assault. We seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and all damages permitted under the law. To discuss any of your questions and concerns about filing a sexual assault claim, call our Los Angeles attorneys or fill out our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.

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