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California Statute of Limitations

California Sexual Assault Laws Now Allow Survivors More Time to Sue Abusers

In light of scandals rapidly pouring out the Catholic Church and pivotal movements like #MeToo, California acted quickly to reassess statute of limitations on sexual cases. As of January 1, 2019, California state laws enforce additions marked in Assembly Bill (AB) 1619, which allow more time for sexual assault victims to file civil suits.

AB1619 - What Does it Mean for Survivors? 

Statute of Limitations Extension

California state legislators passed AB1619 unanimously on September 29, 2018. This marked a monumental moment for sexual abuse victims previously denied the chance to reach justice by filing a civil action lawsuit against their abusers. AB1619 extends the statute of limitations for sexual assault to ten years, a massive increase from the former time limit of two years. 

These lawsuits only apply to civil cases, meaning these are not criminal proceedings. However, a sexual assault victim can file for a recovery of damages against their abuser, requiring the abuser to pay money to compensate for the injuries that resulted from the sexual assault. Also, the extension to ten years means survivors who struggled with coming forward to report crimes in the past receive a second chance to reach justice and work towards healing.

Discovery Cases

Additionally, victims who “discover” injury or illness from sexual abuse have three years after the discovery to file a civil suit for recover of damages. Many times psychological injuries and illnesses appear many years after cases of sexual abuse, so the addition of an extended discovery period is important for sexual assault victims.

California Statute of Limitations "Lookback Window"

In the past California provided a “lookback window”, or a period of time when now-adult sexual assault victims could sue perpetrators and institutions over claims that time limits previously barred. While California's one-year “lookback window” opened in 2003, California state legislators aim to create a new “lookback window” in the upcoming year. 

According to reports by PBS News Hour, the 2003 “lookback window” lead to hundreds of civil action lawsuits and over $1 billion in payouts to victims of Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse. The hope of a new “lookback window” would give sexual abuse survivors and advocates a new chance to seek justice previously denied to them.

AVA Law Group is Here to Fight For You!

Change has come for California sexual abuse survivors, and AVA Law Group, Inc. wants to join you on your path to justice and healing. Our team of experienced, reputable lawyers desire to advocate on your behalf and make sure you receive the legal compensation you justly deserve. AVA Law's personal representatives strive to answer any questions you may have and connect you with the attentive legal representation you need.

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