What is the Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Claims in California?

Statute of Limitations

Generally speaking, adult victims of sexual abuse have 10 years to file a claim in the state of California. If the incident resulted in a serious illness or injury, victims have three years from the date of discovery to file a personal injury claim. Victims of childhood sexual abuse are not subject to the same statute of limitations.

California Assembly Bill 218, signed into law in 2019, greatly expands the rights of childhood sexual abuse victims. Under this new law, victims of childhood sexual abuse are entitled to take action against their abusers years after the incident or incidents took place.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse can bring a civil action against their abuser until the age of 40. In cases where memories are repressed, this is extended to five years from the date of discovery.

California Assembly Bill 218 also created a three-year “revival window,” allowing adults previously barred by the statute of limitations to file lawsuits against their abusers.

Civil vs. Criminal Cases

Under California law, criminal charges can be brought against the perpetrators of some of the most violent sexual crimes at any time, no matter how long ago they took place. Criminal charges are intended to punish the perpetrator and may include prison, fines, probation, and more. People found guilty of sexual crimes in California must also register as sex offenders with local law enforcement. This registration must be updated yearly, within five days of the registrant’s birthday, as well as any time the registrant moves.

Nonviolent and misdemeanor sex offenders may only be on the registry for 10 years. Others may be on the registry for life.

Civil cases seek justice through compensation for the victims of sexual abuse. These cases seek damages for monetary losses such as hospital care and lost wages. They also seek damages for the physical and emotional duress sexual abuse causes.

The Cifarelli Law Firm is dedicated to helping victims of sexual abuse get justice through swift and aggressive civil action. Compassionate, thoughtful, and effective, our lawyers welcome the opportunity to meet with you free of cost and obligation, listen to your story, provide honest information about your options, and help you determine the best path forward.

Please call 949-502-8600 to schedule your private, confidential, and free case review today. Our sexual abuse lawyers serve the Greater Los Angeles area and all nearby communities.

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