How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Assault Lawsuit in Maryland?

sexual assault

Even if you do not have a legal background, you are probably aware that Maryland has a statute of limitations for many different types of cases. The government must bring criminal charges within a designated amount of time, and private parties are also under constraints. For a Maryland personal injury case, a plaintiff has three years from the date of the incident. Civil sexual assault cases are bound to the three-year statute of limitations, so you lose your rights if you do not file a lawsuit before it expires.

However, there are different rules that apply when the sexual assault involves a child victim. Maryland recently enacted the Child Victims Act, enabling many victims to seek justice through a civil lawsuit. The statute of limitations is eliminated, and the impact of the law is extensive. It is important to talk to a Baltimore County sexual assault lawyer about your options, and some information on timing is helpful.

Child Victims Act

Maryland lawmakers enacted the recent statute to eliminate the time restrictions on civil lawsuits when the plaintiff was a child victim of sexual assault. It became effective on October 1, 2023, opening the door to many individuals who did not qualify because of the prior statute of limitations. Under the previous law, a person had until age 38 to file a lawsuit in court.

In addition, the Child Victims Act includes a provision on damages for a civil sexual assault lawsuit. When suing a private institution or entity for sexual abuse, there is a statutory cap of $1.5 million on noneconomic damages. This amount would cover compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and related losses. The cap does not apply to economic damages such as medical costs. If you are pursuing a public institution, such as a school, the cap is $890,000.

Adult Victims

It is important to note that the Child Victims Act does not impact the statute of limitations when the victim is an adult. If you were 18 or older when assaulted, you must still file your sexual assault lawsuit within three years, according to Maryland law. Failure to act means you are barred from recovering compensation.

Reasons to Act Now

For both child and adult victims of sexual assault, you should not wait to take action. The sooner you pursue the at-fault party for your losses, the faster you can seek compensation. In addition, acting promptly is essential for the purpose of proving your case. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that memories about the incident can fade. Critical evidence may become damaged or destroyed.

Get Started With Help from a Maryland Sexual Assault Attorney

Since there are usually no reasons to wait, it is important to consult with a legal professional right away about your rights. To learn more about the process with a Maryland sexual assault claim, please call 410.363.6848 or go online to reach Attorney Michael A. Freedman. We can schedule a free consultation at our offices in Owings Mills or Glen Burnie, MD.

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