Statute of Limitations in NJ Sexual Abuse Cases
New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys
Although sexual abuse incidents happen in this country at an alarming rate, the sad truth is that many more incidents go unreported. Many victims of sexual abuse are afraid to come forward because they fear retribution from their abusers. Sometimes, childhood sexual abuse victims do not speak up about their abuse because they are ashamed or somehow feel responsible for the abuse. Do not become one of the thousands of nameless victims of sexual abuse. Speak up about your abuse before it is too late.
Cohen & Riechelson has been representing victims of sexual abuse in New Jersey since 1972. Our attorneys have handled countless cases in Mercer County, including Trenton, Lawrence, and Hightstown. Additionally, our legal team includes a New Jersey Certified Civil Trial Attorney, so you know that we know our way around a courtroom. Call CR today to speak to discuss your case and learn whether you can file a civil claim.
Time Limits for Filing Sexual Abuse Claims in New Jersey
Most personal injury lawsuits in New Jersey have a two-year statute of limitations. This means that anyone who fails to file a claim within two years of their injury could lose their ability to sue forever.
However, child sexual abuse cases are treated differently under New Jersey law. Even if you were victimized many years ago, it still might be possible for you to seek justice. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1(b), “In any civil action for injury or illness based on sexual abuse, the cause of action shall accrue at the time of reasonable discovery of the injury and its causal relationship to the act of sexual abuse. Any such act shall be brought within two years after reasonable discovery.” This means that the statute of limitations for a sexual abuse case does not begin until the victim realizes that they were injured as a result of the abuse.
Delayed Discovery in NJ Sexual Abuse Cases
Delayed discovery of past sexual abuse is common among childhood sexual abuse victims. The realization of abuse does not always come immediately because many children block out the horrific memory of abuse; it is not until years later, during therapy, that they recall the abuse. That’s why New Jersey lawmakers allowed for tolling, or stopping, of the statute of limitations in certain cases. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1(c), a court can toll the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases based on “the plaintiff’s mental state, duress by the defendant, or any other equitable grounds.”
However, just to be safe, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible so that you can preserve your legal rights. You do not want to lose the ability to hold your abuser accountable for their actions. Additionally, your attorney will also need time to investigate your case, gather evidence, and file the necessary legal documents with the court.
Free Consultation with Hamilton NJ Sex Abuse Lawyers
The lawyers at Cohen & Riechelson are committed to serving the best interests of clients. If you are a victim of sexual abuse in New Jersey, we will fight tirelessly for your rights. Call us now to speak with a member of our litigation team, or email us to schedule a confidential meeting at our offices in Hamilton or Pennington.