The gravity and long-lasting impact of childhood sexual abuse cannot be understated. Until recently, California law was deemed inaccessible for sexual abuse survivors because it imposed a short time limit for them to seek compensation and justice. However, in 2020, California amended its sexual abuse law, providing a better opportunity for survivors to find their strength and hold their abusers accountable.
The Zucker Law Firm helps California sexual assault survivors pursue their rightful compensation. We are one of the most experienced law firms in the state, and have won high-value settlements and verdicts on behalf of Californians harmed by others. Our attorneys are as fearless as they are compassionate, treating each client with sensitivity and consideration.
If you or a loved one has suffered from childhood sexual abuse, consult confidentially with a child victim advocate from the Zucker Law Firm.
More Time to File a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit in California
One of the most difficult things about sexual abuse is recognizing it and gathering the courage to speak up about it. Many of those who have suffered this harrowing experience take years to come forward.
This was a problem in California, because prior to 2020, the state’s statute of limitations (time limit) for civil sexual abuse claims was only eight years from the time the survivor turns 18. That meant that a survivor could file a lawsuit only up to the day they turn 26. Past that date, the court would likely dismiss their civil claim.
Fortunately, California lawmakers enacted an amendment on January 1, 2020, opening up the window for sexual abuse survivors to file suit. These are the current time limits for filing a sexual abuse lawsuit in California:
- If the abuse occurred on or after January 1, 2020, the statute of limitations is 22 years from the survivor’s 18th birthday. This means they can file suit until they are 40 years old.
- If the survivor discovered the psychological harm or illness later than the abuse occurred, they also have a five-year window to sue, starting from the date of discovery.
- For abuse survivors who missed their time window to sue due to the prior law, the new law allows a renewed three-year window to sue. This means survivors can file suit from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022 – regardless of how long ago their abuse occurred.
With these longer time limits, individuals who suffered childhood sexual abuse from decades past may have a new chance to seek civil justice. If you are an abuse survivor, know that you have better rights now, whether your abuse occurred recently or a long time ago. Consult a trusted lawyer from the Zucker Law Firm to learn about the legal remedies available to you.
Abuse Cover-ups and Enablers Also Liable in California
Besides extending the statute of limitations, the amended California sexual abuse law provides treble damages to survivors if the assault was covered-up. “Treble damages” means they may receive triple their compensation amount.
A California sexual abuse survivor may file a claim not just against the abuser, but also against other parties that unreasonably allowed the abuse to happen. These may include household members that enabled the abuse, organizations that failed to protect their members, and companies that turned a blind eye to the abuse.
In fact, a major driving force behind the amended law was the strong public outcry against the numerous allegations of abuse by Catholic priests and those against Larry Nassar, the former U.S. Olympic gymnastics team doctor convicted of molesting young athletes.
These cases spotlighted abuse enablers in schools, businesses, churches, scouting groups, sports organizations, and more. At the Zucker Law Firm, we encourage abuse survivors to talk to us about all parties who may have allowed or contributed to the abuse. Reach out to our Clergy / Priest / School / Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawyer in a confidential consultation.
Compensation for a Sexual Abuse Survivor in California
What kind of compensation will an abuse survivor receive in California? How much will the settlement be? These are common questions to which there is no standard answer. Each case will be assessed uniquely, taking into account many specific factors around it.
In general, a successful sexual abuse claim may compensate for:
- Medical costs
- Rehabilitation/therapy expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- And more.
In addition, if the abuse occurred under a cover-up, the court may increase the compensation amount up to threefold (treble damages).
In a few cases, the court may also allow punitive damages, which is an amount the defendant has to pay if the abuse was extraordinarily severe.
The survivor may also seek “non-monetary remedy” to get a better sense of justice. An example of a non-monetary remedy is a legal order requiring an organization to better address sexual violence under their watch.
For numerous survivors, it’s valuable to maximize the remedies in their sexual abuse claim. Not only does it help them recover their monetary costs, it also gives them more peace of mind knowing that the perpetrator is held accountable. To help you assert the full extent of your case, work with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer from the Zucker Law Firm.
Contact a Temecula Sexual Abuse Attorney
Californians in Riverside County and beyond trust the Zucker Law Firm for delicate cases like sexual abuse. We have over 25 years of experience working with survivors, helping them obtain favorable compensation against abusers and enablers. Our lawyers are tenacious when advocating for our clients’ rights, but sensitive when communicating with our clients. This helps our clients heal, not just financially but also emotionally.You’re in trusted hands with the Zucker Law Firm. Your consultation with us is absolutely confidential and free of charge. Call us at (951) 699-2100 today.