On May 24, 2022, the Adult Survivors Act (S.66A/A.648A) officially went into effect in New York after being signed by Governor Kathy Hochul. The new law lifts the statute of limitations and gives survivors of sexual assault who were over the age of 18 when the assault occurred a one-year look-back window, during which time they can file a civil lawsuit against their abuser.
If you are the victim of a sex offense in New York, and you were over the age of 18 at the time the offense occurred, you now have an opportunity to hold the perpetrator financially responsible for losses you suffered, even if you are currently time-barred by the statute of limitations. Lawsuits will be allowed to be filed near the end of November, so contact a compassionate New York sexual abuse attorney at Hach & Rose, LLP today to discuss your situation and find out how our attorneys can help with your case. Call us at (212) 779-0057.
What Is the Adult Survivors Act?
The Adult Survivors Act extends New York’s short statute of limitations period on sex offenses. It allows sexual assault and abuse victims and people who were victims of incest who were over the age of 18 at the time of the offense to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator, even if the time parameters set by the statute of limitations have long since passed. Survivors will be allowed to begin filing lawsuits on November 24, 2022. The one-year look-back window will officially close on November 23, 2023. Survivors who are currently time-barred must take legal action within this window to have a valid case.
In addition to offering adult survivors the opportunity to hold their abusers accountable, survivors of sexual abuse and assault in the workplace can bring claims against employers or institutions who could have been held financially liable before the statute of limitations passed.
The Adult Survivors Act mirrors the Child Victims Act. The Child Victims Act extended the statute of limitations on child sex offenses, allowing victims of childhood sexual assault and abuse to file a lawsuit against their abuser until they reach the age of 55. The statute of limitations for child sex offenses previously began on the date the minor turned eighteen and expired a few years later. The Child Victims Act also established a one-year lookback window allowing victims of childhood sexual assault aged 55 and above to take legal action against the perpetrator. That window has now closed.
The Adult Survivors Act seeks to empower adult survivors of incest and sexual assault and abuse, allowing them to sue their abusers for financial compensation regardless of how long ago the assault or abuse occurred. Given that many incest and sexual assault and abuse victims initially remain silent due to fear of retaliation or shame, this is a huge win that will finally allow these survivors to have their day in court.
Of course, the burden of proof is still on survivors, as the law does not grant them an automatic “win.” The law simply gives survivors the opportunity to present their case. Survivors must still present evidence to support their claims, which could include medical records, photo evidence, expert testimony, and witnesses who were told about the sexual offense around the time the crime was committed. Victims who win their case could be entitled to recover full financial remedies, including financial damages, non-financial damages, and punitive damages.
What Crimes Does the Adult Survivors Act Apply To?
The Adult Survivors Act will allow adult survivors of sexual assault and abuse to file a lawsuit in civil court against their abuser. The Adult Survivors Act applies to crimes such as:
- Rape in the First Degree
- Rape in the Second Degree
- Rape in the Third Degree
- Sexual Misconduct
- Sexual Abuse in the First Degree
- Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree
- Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree
- Persistent Sexual Abuse
- Forcible Touching
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the First Degree
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Fourth Degree
- Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree
- Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree
- Criminal Sexual Act in the Third Degree
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Facilitating a Sex Offense with a Controlled Substance
- Incest in the First Degree
- Incest in the Second Degree
Civil litigation is different than criminal litigation, and the penalties in a civil lawsuit are purely financial. Through a civil lawsuit, survivors of sexual assault and abuse now have an opportunity to recover compensation for the losses they suffered due to the crimes of their abuser.
Who Can File a Lawsuit?
If you are the victim of a sexual offense and you were at least 18 years old at the time the crime was committed, you will have one year to bring a lawsuit against your abuser, beginning on November 24, 2022, and ending on November 23, 2023. Your case does not have to be resolved within this window; you simply need to initiate the legal process by filing a formal complaint in civil court. Even if the statute of limitations period for the offense in question passed decades ago, you could bring a valid lawsuit within the allotted time frame.
Contact a New York Sexual Abuse Attorney Today
Are you an adult survivor of sexual assault or abuse that occurred after you were 18? If so, the experienced New York sexual abuse lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to help you pursue justice through compensation. We will help you understand your rights under the new law and guide you through the complex civil litigation process. We offer our legal services on a contingency-fee basis, meaning we only collect a legal fee if we win your case. We don’t get paid unless you get paid.
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we have obtained more than $500 million for our clients in a range of civil cases, and you can trust our attorneys to fight for your right to compensation. Contact us today at (212) 779-0057 for a free, no-risk case evaluation to speak with an attorney about your case.