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New York Adult Survivors Act: Frequently Asked Questions

Aug 23, 2022
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Survivors of sexual assault often face a long and confusing journey after an attack. Many who survive sexual abuse and assault do not know how to process the event, often causing them to blame themselves for what happened. In many cases, a survivor might not even know that a sexual assault took place due to manipulation by a perpetrator or a mental block caused by PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Because of this, many attackers get away with their crimes, and survivors are left with emotional, physical, and monetary burdens.

It sometimes takes years, or even decades for survivors to come to terms with what happened to them. As a result, many survivors miss the deadline to file a civil lawsuit against their attacker. In 2019, New York extended the statute of limitations to 20 years for adults filing civil lawsuits for sex offenses. But this legislation only affected new cases and did not apply to retroactive cases. Fortunately, a new bill known as the New York Adult Survivors Act is giving survivors the chance to finally come forward to rectify their losses, even if the attack occurred decades prior.

Key Takeaways

  • Since it may take years to come to terms with sexual abuse, survivors often miss the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit
  • Under the New York Adult Survivors Act, survivors of adult sexual abuse now have an opportunity to file a lawsuit against their perpetrator and other relevant entities, no matter when the incident occurred
  • Speak with a sympathetic sex abuse attorney to start fighting for your rights

What is the NY Adult Survivors Act? 

The New York Adult Survivors Act was recently passed, allowing adult survivors of sexual assault a period of time to file a civil lawsuit against their perpetrator, no matter when the incident occurred. The period to sue their attacker under this act, known as a “lookback window,” is one year after the statute of limitations has expired. This allows survivors who were too afraid or traumatized to speak up to finally seek justice for the pain they endured.

When does the lookback window for the NY Adult Survivors Act end?

The lookback window goes into effect six months from the Act being signed into law and lasts for a period of one year. The bill was signed May 24, 2022, so the lookback window will be in effect from November 24, 2022 to on or about November 23, 2023. This means that if you are considering filing a lawsuit, the time to act is now. As soon as you are ready, pick up the phone to speak with a sympathetic attorney at Edwards Pottinger. We are ready to answer all of your questions and concerns. 

What happens when the lookback window ends?

When the Adult Survivors Act lookback window ends, cases that have surpassed the statute of limitations may no longer be brought to court. If you survived adult sexual abuse, speak to an attorney today to discuss your options so that you do not miss your opportunity to file a lawsuit.

Who can file a lawsuit under the New York Adult Survivors Act? 

The New York Adult Survivors Act allows survivors who were at or above the age of 18 at the time of their abuse to file a lawsuit, no matter when it happened. The New York Adult Survivors Act is not applicable to survivors who were children at the time of their abuse.

Do other states have laws like the New York Adult Survivors Act? 

California’s Child Victims Act opened a lookback window for child sex abuse lawsuits. The Act allows for a three-year window for survivors with expired sexual abuse claims to bring a civil lawsuit against their attacker. The window to file an expired sexual assault claim ends December 31, 2022.  

Why should I file a New York Adult Survivors Act lawsuit?

The New York Adult Survivors Act is open for a limited time, so it is important to act now. By filing a civil lawsuit, you can hold the perpetrator and any relevant third parties responsible for their grievous crimes against you. This can empower you and give you back your voice after so much was unfairly taken. A lawsuit cannot erase the scars caused by a sexual assault, but it can help you reclaim your life.

A successful civil sex abuse lawsuit can offer compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Therapy
  • Relevant costs for rehabilitation and treatment centers
  • Lost wages if the abuse prevented you from working
  • Medical expenses associated with the abuse

How much compensation can I get under the New York Adult Survivors Act? 

Because every case is different, it is impossible to estimate how much you may receive from a civil lawsuit verdict or settlement. However, many survivors have received amounts from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

Speak with a NY Sexual Assault Attorney Today

If you survived sexual abuse, we understand how difficult it is to work through your emotions and gather the strength to ask for help. Our determined legal firm at Edwards Pottinger has decades of experience helping survivors like you fight for their rights. Our attorneys sympathize with what you are going through, and want to emphasize that what happened to you was not your fault. You do not have to fight this battle alone. 

Our sexual assault attorneys have litigated countless cases just like yours, and have the experience to guide you through your case from start to finish. All it takes is a phone call. Consultations are always free and 100% confidential. You will pay no legal fees unless we secure a verdict or settlement on your behalf. Now is the time to speak up, feel empowered, and take back your control. Schedule your free legal consultation today.

Article Sources

  1. Governor Hochul Signs Adult Survivors Act
  2. Statement from Senator Anna M. Kaplan on the Adult Survivors Act Being Signed Into Law
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