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New Jersey Statute of Limitations

New Jersey Statute of Limitations: Change is Coming

Recent Senate rulings in New Jersey put sexual abuse survivors one step closer to reaching their chance at  justice. On March 25, 2019, New Jersey lawmakers unanimously approved and passed S477. This bill will give victims of sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits against their abusers. New Jersey residents expect Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat who expressed support for child sex abuse reforms, to sign the bill. Now, it seems to be simply a matter of when, not if.

S477 Background

Efforts to pass this bill have been in motion for almost two decades due to state legislation stalling a bill that would help thousands of New Jersey sexual abuse survivors. According to advocates of the new legislation, the Catholic Church vehemently opposed S477 and used their influence in Trenton to prevent efforts from moving forward. Nevertheless, the state Assembly voted 71-0 in favor of S477 Monday, March 25.

The old statutes of limitations prevented many sexual abuse survivors from suing their abusers in civil court. When clerical sexual abuse survivor Todd Kostrub decided he wanted to sue his abuser, a Franciscan brother in his parish, he devestatingly learned that New Jersey’s two-year statute of limitations had already run out for him. Kotstrub had been sexually abused by the brother for 12 years. “You don’t have a voice as a child, and then to be an adult and being told I don’t have a voice was extremely painful,” Kostrub stated in a recent interview with NPR.

S477 Will Change Everything

Now, the bill will allow adults who were sexually abused as a child to sue up until the age of 55 or seven years after they “discover” their injuries (whether that be emotional or psychological) are the result of sexual abuse.

In addition to these alterations, the new bill allows previously blocked sexual abuse survivors a two-year window to bring civil suit cases back to court again. Victims like Kostrub will get a second chance at bringing their abusers to justice. 

“I think we’ve reached a point where the public is finally 100 percent behind the victims, and nobody seems to be afraid anymore of the institutions,” stated Marci Hamilton, affiliated with the group Child USA. According to Hamiliton, 35 states across America are currently reevaluating their statutes of limitations surrounding cases of sexual abuse, steadily working towards a new beginning for sexual abuse survivors.

AVA Law Group is Here to Fight for Your Rights!

Hope for New Jersey sexual abuse survivors is on the horizon, 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. 

Contact AVA Law Group, Inc. today to sign up for your free case evaluation. Our live, personal representatives will strive to answer any questions you may have and connect you with the attentive legal representation you need.

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