A new law has passed that will extend the time childhood sexual abuse victims have to file a civil action against their abusers. This bill was signed by Governor Phil Murphy on May 13, 2019. The new law will allow survivors a two-year window to file a sexual abuse claim, regardless of when the assault occurred.
Many instances of sexual assault and abuse involve children, but for various reasons, the abuse is not addressed until the victim is well into adulthood. Even then, many survivors delay speaking out for fear of the consequences. Some must go through years of therapy before they are ready to go public with what happened to them.
In the past, survivors of childhood sex abuse had to file a claim either before their 20th birthday or two years after they “discovered” that they had been abused. The “discovery rule” halted any further investigation for individuals seeking justice after the two-year window. This relatively short window left thousands of victims silenced. With the passing of this new bill, those individuals will be given the opportunity to file a claim against the person or persons who caused them pain and suffering, both mentally and physically.
Bill Long Overdue
This new law has been heavily supported by the NJAJ and others who urged Gov. Murphy to support and sign the bill. With a vote of 32-1, sponsored by senators Joseph F. Vitale and Nicholas P. Scutari, the Senate passed the bill on March 14, 2019. In addition to the approval by the Senate, the Assembly approved the bill with a vote of 71-0 with 5 absentee votes on March 25, 2019. The new law will take effect in December 1 of this year. There is no question that the support for this bill is overwhelming and justice for sexual abuse survivors will continue to persist.
This statute of limitations will be removed for child sexual abuse cases filed between December 2019 and November 2021. After this time, the survivors will have up to age 55 or seven years after the discovery of abuse to file a claim against the perpetrator and others who may have been responsible. Over the last few years, sexual assault has become a topic of controversy because of a perceived lack of support from government officials. This long overdue law proves that progress is being made and that sexual abuse and assault cases should not be taken lightly. Personal injury cases such as these are life changing situations and deserve justice and proper compensation.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Survivors of Child Sex Abuse
If you experienced sexual abuse as a child, thanks to this new bill, it is not too late to file a claim against your abuser. Sexual assault is traumatic for a person of any age and should always be taken seriously. The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will fight for your rights and help you obtain the justice you deserve. Call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online to arrange a free and confidential consultation. We have several office locations to represent clients in Philadelphia, Delaware County, and Chester County, Pennsylvania, as well as Wilmington, Delaware, and New Jersey.