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Statute Of Limitations – Sex Abuse & Clergy Abuse Lawyers

The statute of limitations is an issue that comes up in almost every case when I’m representing an adult survivor. And that’s because what the statute of limitations is. It’s a deadline that most states have that requires that a lawsuit be filed within a certain number of years, and every state’s different. But there’s certain legal principles that apply in most states where we can legally avoid the statute of limitations. Those theories, which I’ve used in many states, fall into categories what we call estoppel, a fraudulent concealment.

That’s an argument where we show that a defendant knew…had information that they knew something was happening. They may have had a perpetrator there that they knew about. That they might have documents that show that. Very simply, in a fraudulent concealment, were alleging that this information was concealed by the defendant from the victim and so the victim did not even know that the defendant was negligent. In some states where they recognize that, we can get around the statute of limitations.

There’s something called a repressed memory, which many states recognize. That’s where the victim may have suppressed actually the memory of being abuse. That does happen. It’s rare, but it happens, particularly when a young child has been sexually abused. The trauma is so great that they’ve forgotten about it until something triggers it as an adult. States recognize that.

Then many states have what I call, connecting the dots. That’s where a victim may have known they were abused, they may know who abused them, but they’ve never put together the fact that their injuries as an adult, their damages, are directly related to the abuse. In states that recognize that, we can use the failure to connect the dots to get around the statute of limitations. Bottom line is I deal with the statute of limitations almost every day. I deal with it in many different states and there are legal ways to get around the statute of limitations. It’s a complex area, but it’s something that we’re very experienced at handling.