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New York Adult Survivors Act

The New York Adult Survivors Act temporarily eliminated the civil statute of limitations for survivors of sexual assault who were over 18 when it occurred. This gave you the right to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator or others who facilitated the assault, regardless of how long ago it occurred. This window closed on November 24, 2023. Please contact the team at Herman Law to explore remaining legal options.

If you have been sexually assaulted during adulthood, you deserve to be compensated for the physical harm, emotional trauma, and financial losses brought on by the abuse. 

Thanks to the New York Adult Survivors Act, survivors of adult sexual abuse can file a civil claim for damages for sexual assault, regardless of how long ago it occurred. However,  the window of opportunity to file a claim is closing, so it is crucial to contact our experienced New York sex abuse lawyers immediately if you are ready to file an adult sexual assault lawsuit.

What Is the Adult Survivors Act?

Under the New York Adult Survivors Act—also known as the New York Lookback Law—survivors of adult sexual assault who were previously barred from filing a claim because the statute of limitation had expired have been granted a one-year time frame to file a lawsuit. This time frame is therefore a “lookback window” and expired on November 24, 2023. 

This is your opportunity to hold those accountable who perpetrated your abuse or failed to prevent it. We appreciate the courage it takes to stand up to the people responsible for sexual violence, and our caring and supportive sexual assault lawyers will provide compassionate support and advocacy throughout the process. 

Rather than take a chance on missing out on well-deserved financial compensation for the trauma you endured, reach out to our New York sexual assault lawyers today for a free, confidential consultation. 

What Prompted the Passage of the New York Adult Survivors Act?

Survivors of adult sexual violence have long been denied justice in New York because of an unfair statute of limitations of just five years for civil claims. Even the criminal statutes of limitations were as short as five years for some sexual offenses against adults.

Five years does not give survivors of rape and other forms of sexual assault sufficient time to process their trauma to the extent that they are ready to come forward. In 2019, then-Governor Cuomo signed a law that increased the civil statute of limitations for adult sexual abuse to 20 years

Unfortunately, this legislation came too late for the thousands of survivors whose claims were already barred because the statute of limitations had expired. The Adult Survivors Act in New York aims to address this by providing a temporary lifetime lookback window for these deserving survivors.

The New York Child Victims Act

The extension of the statute of limitations for adult survivors of sexual violence and the Adult Survivors Act were significantly influenced by the New York Child Victims Act, which gave survivors of childhood sexual abuse more time to file civil claims and press criminal charges. 

The Child Victims Act also provided a lookback window for childhood sexual abuse survivors who were previously unable to file a claim because the statute of limitations had expired. This lookback window expired on August 1, 2021. 

While the Child Victims Act was an important step in helping sex abuse survivors get justice, it overlooked thousands of adult survivors of sexual violence who also need and deserve justice. 

New Jersey passed a similar law that extended the statute of limitations and provided a lookback window for survivors of both adult and childhood sexual abuse, which further shed a light on the lack of justice for survivors of adult sexual assault in New York and helped pave the way for the New York Adult Survivors Act.

Who Can File a Lawsuit Under the Adult Survivors Act in New York?

You may be eligible to file a lawsuit under the Adult Survivors Act if a sexual offense was perpetrated against you after you turned 18, and the statute of limitations expired before you were ready to file a claim, or your claim was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired. 

Sexual offenses in New York include the following:

  • First, second, or third-degree rape
  • Fondling or other sexual contact without consent
  • Sexual acts when you were unable to give consent due to incapacity, physical helplessness, or disability
  • Forcible touching
  • Forcible compulsion
  • Penetration with a foreign object

Whatever the details of your assault, you may be able to pursue financial compensation for its impact on your life. 

When you contact our sexual assault lawyers, you can count on us to believe you, stand up for you, and be there for you through every step of your claim. 

Who Can I Sue Under the New York Lookback Law?

Individuals and companies may be liable for the sexual abuse you suffered. When you hire our experienced sex abuse attorneys in New York, we will look not only for evidence to implicate the perpetrator but also for companies and individuals who enabled the abuse. These may include the following:

  • A business that failed to provide adequate security
  • A religious or civic organization that encouraged a culture of abuse or ignored reports of abuse
  • Hotels, motels, and other businesses that look the other way when sexual assault occurs
  • Employers whose employees committed sexual assault, as in the cases against New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Hospital
  • Any individual that participated in, encouraged, or helped conceal the assault

In the cases against New York Presbyterian and Columbia University Hospitals, patients were sexually assaulted for years while the hospitals looked the other way. We are actively involved in these lawsuits, and both of these hospitals have already set aside $165 million to settle with patients abused by one of the doctors, Dr. Robert Hadden, who has since been convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. 

While going against a large establishment like a well-respected hospital may seem intimidating, we have the resources needed to make a successful stand against large businesses and organizations. You can count on us to protect your interests and fight for you. Contact us now to get started.

What Compensation Can I Recover in a New York Adult Survivors Act Lawsuit?

Damages in a sexual assault lawsuit can compensate you for medical expenses brought on by physical injuries, the cost of psychological counseling, and lost wages. Whether the incident prevented you from attending college, starting a career, receiving a promotion, or going to work every day, we can help you recover the wages you could have earned were it not for the abuse.

You can also pursue compensation for non-monetary losses, such as the following:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Humiliation
  • Loss of society
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

The benefits of standing up to your abuser in a court of law go beyond the significant financial compensation we can help you recover. It can be an important step in the healing process, and many of our clients have considered the healing they gained while holding their accusers accountable to be their biggest win.

What If I Missed the Lookback Window?

If the statute of limitations expired before the Adult Survivors Act took effect, or if it expired during the lookback window, this is your only opportunity to file a claim and get the justice you deserve. After it expires, you will be barred from filing a claim. If you do file a claim, your case will likely be dismissed.

The expiration of the lookback window does not affect all adult survivors of sexual abuse. If the most recent act of sexual violence against you occurred after 2014, you may still be able to file a claim for up to 20 years after the offense. 

However, the statute of limitations is complex, and the only way to know for sure is to consult an experienced New York sex abuse attorney. If the statute of limitations is not extended in your case, your claim will need to be filed ahead of the expiration of the lookback window.

Why Herman Law Is the Best Choice for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

We are the nation’s leading sex abuse attorneys with more than 25 years of experience empowering sexual abuse victims to hold their abusers accountable and restore their lives. We understand the unique needs of child and adult survivors of sexual abuse, and you can count on us to do the following for you:

  • Take you seriously
  • Believe you
  • Help you develop a support system
  • Participate in the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators
  • Skillfully advocate for you
  • Protect you and your reputation
  • Provide a detailed investigation to uncover the evidence we need to prove your case in both civil and criminal court

Our founder Jeff Herman is a national advocate for sexual abuse survivors. He is actively involved in local victim advocacy organizations and is often featured on national television networks like CNN and Fox News and in prestigious publications such as the New York Times. He has personally represented more than 1,000 survivors of rape and sexual abuse.

We have won millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients, but we measure success not only in dollars and cents but also by the healing and empowerment our clients experience as they confront their abusers.  We regularly receive unsolicited client testimonials such as the following:

Win or lose they are the first people to actually care. I may never get closure; I may never be whole, but by God’s grace they not only gave me a voice, but they are letting me know that it’s not my fault.

Christina R.

The firm is compassionate, conscientious, and always available to answer my questions. I would highly recommend this firm for representation.

-Eric U.

Contact a New York Sex Abuse Attorney

The New York Adult Survivor’s Act provides a limited window of opportunity to file your adult sexual assault claim if you were previously unable to do so because the statute of limitations had expired. Contact us today so you can get the justice you deserve before time runs out.