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Seminario de Seguridad Negligente | Marzo 2015>

Abogados de lesiones personales de Florida

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    What is the Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Florida?

    Enduring sexual abuse is a horrific and life-altering experience for victims of any age. But for children—who, tragically, may be abused by adults they trust or people in positions of authority—the experience is likely to be even more traumatic. For a variety of reasons that often stem from the power differential between abusers and their young victims, children may not report the abuse or even process what happened to them for many years. Unfortunately, when it comes to pursuing legal recourse by filing a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator or a third party who may be deemed liable for the abuse, this delay could potentially bar the victim’s ability to recover damages if the statute of limitations has run. 

    In Florida, there are different statutes of limitations for sexual abuse (or sexual battery) civil lawsuits based on the victim’s age and the circumstances of the case. Specifically, victims must file a suit within the following time limits:

    • Seven years after the victim turns 18.
    • Within four years from the time that the victim discovers a link between the abuse and a related injury, or within four years from when the victim leaves and stops depending on the abuser (whichever is the later of these two dates). This is known as the delayed discovery rule, which suspends the statute of limitations from running during time periods when a victim did not discover or could not have reasonably discovered the nexus between their injuries and the sexual abuse. This may apply in cases where, for example, a victim had repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse and did not recover the memories until many years later.
    • In cases where the victim is under 16, there is no statute of limitations. 

    For victims who endured sexual abuse as children, pursuing a civil lawsuit can be an emotionally draining process—but one that help bring the abuser to justice and ultimately aid the victim’s path to healing. Florida’s special statutes of limitations for sexual battery cases can help make legal recovery more likely in cases where the abuse occurred several years earlier. At Leighton Panoff Law, our experienced team offers both the sensitivity and the expertise needed to navigate sexual abuse/battery cases. To speak with one of our attorneys, call us today at 888.988.1774.


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