New York’s Adult Survivors Act allows survivors of sexual assaults that occurred when the survivors were over the age of 18 to sue their abusers, regardless of when the abuse occurred. The Act takes effect on November 24, 2022, and provides a one-year window to commence a lawsuit under the Act. So, anyone who is a survivor of an act of sexual assault experienced while age of 18 or older, can sue their assaulter for damages, regardless of how long ago the act took place. Survivors can sue not only the abusers, but also any person or institution whose “negligent acts or omissions” proximately caused the abuse.
Also, New York extended the statute of limitations to 20 years for adults to file civil lawsuits for a select number of sex crimes. However, the legislation only affects new cases and is not retroactive. Previously the statute of limitations to bring a civil case for sexual assault or molestation was as short as 3 years.
To reiterate, anyone who suffered sexual abuse prior to 1999, while 18 years or older, will have one year starting November 24, 2022, to sue the abuser, and/or any person or institution whose “negligent acts or omissions” proximately caused the abuse. Any adult who suffered sexual abuse after the 1999 law was passed, has 20 years to bring suit.
In 2019, New York also passed the Child Victims Act, which allowed survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file claims otherwise barred by the statute of limitations. The Adult Survivors Act now provides the same access to the courts for adults. The 2019 Child Victims Act also extended the Statute of limitations for child victims, until the victim is 55 years old, for any act committed after the 2019 Child Victims Act was passed.
These are important changes, as survivors of sexual abuse often do not come forward for years, or even decades, due to reasons such as shame, guilt, embarrassment, or fear. Also, many survivors do not even realize that they were abused, or do not feel they will be believed, until others come forward.
The law firm of Zalman, Schnurman, & Miner is experienced in handling abuse cases. All consultations are free and each case is handled on a contingency fee basis. For a free consultation call 1-800-LAWLINE (1-800-529-5463) or email email@example.com.