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New York Sex Abuse Lawyer
Helping Survivors of Sexual Abuse Pursue Compensation
Any form of sexual abuse and assault is a heinous crime. For survivors, speaking up and holding their abusers accountable can seem overwhelming and daunting. However, with the right advocates on your side, pursuing legal action against the responsible entities can be an important step in your healing journey and an honorable way of helping ensure that others do not experience similar abuse.
Under the New York Adult Survivors Act, survivors will have a year to file a civil lawsuit against their abusers and relevant entities, regardless of when the abuse occurred. Pursuing justice against sexual abuse can often be difficult due to statutes of limitations that prohibit filing lawsuits against a certain date. However, with the expected passing of the new law, it will be possible for more survivors to speak up and be heard. Retaining an experienced New York sex abuse lawyer can make the process of pursuing justice go more smoothly and maximize your chances of recovering monetary damages.
The decision to come forward about a traumatic event like sexual abuse is never easy, but you are not alone. Edwards Pottinger is here to help survivors in New York get the justice they deserve.
What to Know About Sexual Assault
According to RAINN, someone is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds in America. Young adults and children have the highest risk for sexual violence and abuse. The statistics on childhood sexual abuse are horrific, with 1 in 10 people remembering at least one sexually abusive encounter from their childhood.
The trauma that sexual assault survivors endure can cause multiple mental and physical health issues, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and even chronic physical illnesses like heart disease.
In some cases, especially repeated instances of abuse, someone’s mind may block the experience out and keep them from consciously recalling it until many years later. This is why laws like the Adult Survivors Act that offer adults another chance to report abuse from their past are so important as it can take years for someone to be able to discuss what happened to them.
New York Sex Abuse Laws: A Brief Overview
Sexual assault and abuse survivors typically have two legal avenues available to them for pursuing justice: pressing criminal charges and filing a civil lawsuit. The latter is often overlooked but can be just as important in helping an individual heal and in helping ensure that others are not similarly hurt in the future.
A civil lawsuit can result in compensation for a survivor’s pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and more. While money cannot eliminate trauma, the emotional effects that stay with a survivor are losses that deserve to be recognized and validated.
The laws around sexual abuse and assault, including the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits, vary from state to state. In New York, survivors of childhood sex abuse now have until the age of 55 to file a civil lawsuit. Individuals who were sexually assaulted as adults generally have three years to file civil lawsuits. However, legislation passed in 2019 extended the statute of limitations to 10 years for third-degree rape and sexual abuse and 20 years for second-degree rape and sexual abuse.
What is the New York Adult Survivors Act?
The Adult Survivors Act, which the New York Senate recently passed unanimously and is expected to be soon signed into law, will open a one-year “lookback window” to allow any expired adult sexual abuse claims to be filed. Under the law, any survivor who was sexually assaulted or abused as an adult will be able to file a civil lawsuit, regardless of how old they are or when the abuse occurred.
It often takes years and even decades for survivors to process what happened to them. While the extensions made in 2019 to the statutes of limitations for many acts of sexual abuse were important in allowing for more survivors to pursue justice, the legislation did not open a lookback window to account for the many individuals whose claims were already expired. The Adult Survivors Act seeks to remedy that.
What is the New York Child Victims Act?
The New York Child Victims Act was a way for adults who suffered sex abuse in New York as children to pursue justice decades later. It was originally intended to be a one-year lookback window to open cases for which the statute of limitations had passed; however, it was extended in August 2020 due to the pandemic and ultimately lasted for two years.
The New York Child Victims Act (CVA) extended the statute of limitations to allow survivors of child sex abuse to file felony charges against their abusers until the age of 28, or bring a civil lawsuit against the abuser until the age of 55. Over the course of the two years the CVA was active, over 9,000 New York sex abuse survivors filed lawsuits and were able to bring a sense of closure to themselves and their families as well as recover damages caused by the abuse.
The window to file a civil lawsuit under the Child Victims Act closed in August 2021, but Edwards Pottinger is closely monitoring any developments regarding the possibility of lookback windows opening again in the future.
When Should a Survivor Consult a New York Sex Abuse Lawyer?
If you were sexually abused or assaulted, speaking with a New York sex abuse lawyer is the first step towards pursuing justice. Our team of compassionate, experienced lawyers is nationally recognized for a reason: We fight to secure the maximum compensation for survivors. Contact us today to set up a free and confidential consultation to learn more about your legal rights.
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Edwards Pottinger is a nationally-recognized powerhouse litigation firm, dedicated to providing its clients with the highest quality legal services and, at the same time, making substantial, positive changes for the common good.
We are skilled litigators and experienced trial attorneys who have effectively pursued civil lawsuits against some of the most powerful individuals, organizations and big businesses on behalf of people, victims and small businesses. In fact, we specialize in handling cases where the power differential is greatest and we can use our experience and resources to even the playing field. Our recent trial results speak for themselves.