Sexual assault, abuse, molestation, and other related offenses are heinous, and can have a life-long impact. Unfortunately, sometimes people don’t know, or remember, they might have been the victims of such acts; or they may have been embarrassed, ashamed, or coerced into keeping quiet. For the longest time, if a person wanted to bring a lawsuit against someone else, or against an organization that allowed such behaviors, they were limited by the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury.
The New Jersey State Government recognized that the two-year statute of limitations could present a significant impediment to a person who did not know or remember that they were a victim of a sexual assault. As a result, New Jersey has significantly revised the applicable statute of limitations for civil claims for sexual abuse and assault. The state is extending the statute of limitations for certain categories of claimants for as many as thirty-seven years following their eighteenth birthday or to age fifty-five. For many people, the statute is now seven years from the date they become aware of the original assault.
The changes to the statute also explicitly make charitable and non-profit organizations, as well as governmental entities, liable for any such assault committed by their members or employees.
For people who were precluded from filing a claim previously because of the statute of limitations, the state has essentially “turned back the clock,” providing such persons with an additional two years to file suit from the date the statute is effective.
This is a significant change in the law, one that recognizes the unique nature of these types of cases. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, help is available 24/7 at the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800) 656-HOPE. Our attorneys are here to help you.
Written by Attorney, Larry Kroll of SGKLegal, June 16, 2019