Sex abuse victims in New York have, in the past, had their hands tied by the statute of limitations, which barred victims from pursuing civil damages if that time had expired. But, according to a report in The New York Times, a bill being introduced in State Capitol titled the Adult Survivors Act would create a one-year window that would allow adult victims of sex abuse to revive old sex crime accusations and bring them to court.
Giving Adult Victims Their Day in Court
This proposal is similar to the “look-back window” that began in August under the Child Victims Act, which has resulted in a number of lawsuits related to allegations of child sex abuse, some of them decades old. Supporters of this legislation, which is similar to a trailblazing law passed in New Jersey this year, say it may be a valuable tool for domestic violence victims as well as those sexually abused by powerful, well-heeled men such as Bill Cosby and Jeffrey Epstein who have been known to intimidate adult accusers with defamation lawsuits.
The law, if it passes, will cover a range of sex offenses including rape, forcible touching, persistent sexual abuse, incest and sexual misconduct. The bill is being sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman and is expected to find widespread support in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Recently, New York changed the statute of limitations for some categories of sex crimes such as rape, expanding it to up to 20 years for both criminal and civil cases.
Before that, victims had only one year to file civil cases and five for criminal cases. But, even the expanded statute only covered cases going forward and was not retroactive. Hoylman’s proposed legislation will change that allowing civil lawsuits to look back “indefinitely.” Hoylman told the Times that this will hopefully give past survivors an opportunity for their day in court.
Rights of Sexual Assault Victims
Victims of sexual assault, regardless of their age, can be emotionally and/or psychologically devastated in the long term. Whether they were assaulted or abused as a child or as an adult, victims face lingering psychological effects even if the physical scars may have healed. Victims may experience post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, the symptoms of which may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety.
Some may experience depression including prolonged sadness, feelings of hopelessness, weight loss or gain, loss of energy or interest in activities previously enjoyed and dissociation or not being able to focus on routine activities. Some may even have suicidal thoughts. Many victims of sexual assault or sexual abuse require ongoing treatment and counseling, and the expense to access these services can add up very quickly.
Please remember that in addition to being held criminally liable, the perpetrators or any entity whose negligence (carelessness) caused the attack can be held civilly liable as well. Victims of sexual assault can file a civil lawsuit to seek monetary support for the physical and emotional injuries they have suffered. Victims may be able to seek compensation for damages including but not limited to medical expenses, loss of income and benefits, hospitalization, psychological counseling, permanent injuries, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one was a victim of sexual assault or abuse, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 48 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims. Our attorneys were able to reach a $2,500,000 settlement in the case of a minor, who was raped in the Bronx due to inadequate security measures in the building where she lived.
Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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