Renewed Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Claims Set to Expire December 31, 2021
In 2019 Governor Cooper signed SB 199 into law which did a number of great things for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. SB 199 extends the statute of limitations for filing suit to 10 years after the survivor’s eighteenth birthday. Additionally, SB 199 renewed the statute of limitations for instances of abuse for children who were sexually abused but never brought a claim under the previous statute of limitations. The language of SB 199 states, “Effective from January 1, 2020, until December 31, 2021, this section revives any civil action for child sexual abuse otherwise time-barred under G.S. 1-52 as it existed immediately before the enactment of this act.”
If you or a loved one was sexually abused as a child, and you will be over 28 years old on December 31, 2021 you must file your lawsuit on or before December 31, 2021 in order to avoid your claim once again being time barred. Often those who are sexually abused do not disclose the abuse immediately. As such, it is only fair that the extended 10-year limitations period apply going forward. However, in order to recognize the fact that disclosing abuse is difficult and may not have happened immediately, or at all, for those who are already over age 28, the legislature has revived all prior claims. That revival does not last forever, though. It is for that reason that if you or a loved one was sexually abused as a child, you should act fast to hold both your abuser and any other parties accountable.
Some common instances of sexual abuse involve coaches, priests, teachers, camp counselors, scout leaders, and bus drivers. In addition to holding the abuser accountable the school, church, camp, or national governing body should also be held accountable if their negligence allowed the abuse to happen.
Another common instance of abuse involves family members. I was recently on a team of trial attorneys in a Wake County jury trial where the jury found a child’s mother and father liable for the father’s sexual abuse of our client. If you mother, father, aunt, uncle, or brother sexually abused you as a child and you never took steps to hold them accountable, that is now possible. However, you must file your lawsuit on or before December 31, 2021 if you are going to be over 28 years old on that date.
Examples of damages in sexual abuse cases include emotional distress, pain, suffering, medical and counseling expenses, and punitive damages. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse deserve to be compensated for the tremendous negative impacts even one instance of abuse can have on the child. If you or a loved one was sexually abused as a child, don’t once again miss the opportunity to hold your abuser accountable by failing to take action before December 31, 2021.
If you would like a confidential case evaluation to determine the applicable statute of limitations, please do not hesitate to give us a call to schedule a consultation. We have a proven track record of advocating for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and would love to try and help you on your healing journey.