Understanding Your Rights As a Sexual Abuse Survivor
Sexual abuse is one of the most egregious acts that can be committed against a person. It is also one of the most underreported crimes in the country. Survivors often fear retaliation, particularly when the abuse is perpetrated by a person in an authoritative position. Others may be in denial or feel a debilitating sense of shame.
At Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner, & Davey, P.A., we represent men, women, and children who have been traumatized by sexual abuse or assault. We recognize that it is not easy to come forward with your story, but we are here to help. Our firm is dedicated to giving survivors a voice. Contact our office today for a free, confidential consultation.
How long do I have to file a claim for sexual abuse?
In Maryland, the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit based on sexual abuse depends on whether you were an adult (age 18 and older) or a child at the time of the abuse. Victims of sex abuse can also pursue an injury claim against someone other than the alleged perpetrator of the abuse. For example, if another person or government agency was negligent in a way that helped allow or contribute to the abuse occurring, the victim might be able to recover damages in a lawsuit against that negligent party.
According to Maryland state law, if the abuse occurred as an adult, you have three (3) years to file a claim against an alleged perpetrator or liable third-party.
If the abuse happened as a child, a 2017 law extended the statute of limitations for cases arising out of sexual abuse and assault, including negligence claims, from 7 years after the victim reaches the age of 18 to up to 20 years after the victim reaches 18. Thus, the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims was lengthened from age 25 to 38. This includes cases against someone or some entity other than the perpetrator.
A lawsuit against a person or government agency for claims arising out of sexual abuse of a minor filed beyond the age of 38 requires additional evidence of gross negligence and other circumstances.
Learn more about the resources available to sex abuse victims and how we can help hold parties accountable through a civil lawsuit on our page: “Adult and Children Victims of Sexual Assault.”
Contact Our Office for More Information
While there is new legislation being put forth which would eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims, it has yet to be passed in the state. Sexual assault and abuse victims deserve to be heard. It can take years for a survivor to decide to come forward. We want to make it easier for survivors to be heard.
We provide dedicated, compassionate representation for victims of sexual abuse. Contact our office at (410) 685-2022 to speak directly to an experienced attorney.