Sexual assaults are devastating, and far more people experience sexual assault than you might think. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), one out of every six women in the U.S. “has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime,” and college students of all genders are at particularly high risk.
When sexual assaults occur, it is often very important to the survivor that criminal charges be filed and that the perpetrator be held criminally accountable for the violence they have perpetrated and the resulting harm they have caused. Yet it is also important to think about a civil lawsuit. In some cases, the prosecutor may be unsure about bringing criminal charges, or the alleged perpetrator might beat the charges. Even if the perpetrator is convicted, a civil lawsuit can still have enormous benefits.
In filing a civil lawsuit, you can hold the perpetrator civilly accountable and can seek damages. Yet it is essential to begin working with an Atlanta sexual assault lawyer to ensure that you file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out. How much time do you have to file a claim? The answer to that question depends upon the type of sexual assault case and, in some circumstances when it occurred.
Sexual Assault Cases Involving Adults
Sexual assault cases in which the victim was an adult when the assault occurred usually must be filed within two years from the date of the assault. Generally speaking, sexual assault cases involving an adult victim have the same statute of limitations under Georgia law as other personal injury cases.
Two years is not a lot of time. Accordingly, it is important to begin working on a civil lawsuit as soon as possible with help from a sexual assault lawyer in Atlanta. While it may be difficult and painful to think about revisiting this devastating experience in order to file a lawsuit, you do not want to end up in a situation where your claim has become time-barred because you waited too long to file.
Sexual Assault Cases Involving Minors
The statute of limitations for filing a sexual assault claim when the victim was a minor is more complicated. In 2015, Georgia passed a new law that changed the statute of limitations for child sexual assault and abuse cases. Under that law, a lawsuit for any child sexual abuse or assault cases that occurred on or after July 1, 2015, must be filed either:
- Before the victim reaches the age of 23
- Within “two years from the date that the plaintiff knew or had reason to know of such abuse and that such abuse resulted in injury to the plaintiff as established by competent medical or psychological evidence.”
That law also allowed plaintiffs whose claims had been time-barred to file a lawsuit before July 1, 2017, but that window has since passed. There is currently legislation pending in Georgia that would further extend the statute of limitations for certain child sexual assault and abuse cases.
Contact an Atlanta Sexual Assault Lawyer Today
If you need assistance filing a civil lawsuit after a sexual assault, one of our Atlanta sexual assault attorneys can help you with your claim before the statute of limitations runs out. Contact Stewart Simmons Trial Attorneys online or call our firm for more information.