Florida Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

November 20, 2019 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Florida Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

How Long do You Have to File a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

Sexual abuse is a horrible experience that affects thousands of people across the country. Many people end up being sexually assaulted and abused in a number of situations where people in positions of power or people, people they trusted, or even total strangers commit these terrible criminal acts. These people deserve to be brought to justice and those that have suffered these sexual abuses deserve to know that their abusers are suffering the consequences of their actions. The process of seeking justice for sexual abuse does have an expiration date, unfortunately. There is what is called a statute of limitations on sexual abuse lawsuits that restrict the amount of time that can pass before a person can no longer file a lawsuit for sexual abuse. Florida sexual abuse statute of limitations actually varies from state to state with several different conditions that change the amount of time after the abuse that a person can seek justice through a lawsuit usually assisted by a sexual abuse attorney.

Florida Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

People have been taking legal action against a number of individuals that have sexually abused them as well as the negligent institutions that contributed to these awful crimes occurring. Some common examples include certain Catholic diocese, Boy Scouts of America, and several major corporations. Legal action taken because of sexual abuse can either be done through civil law or criminal law. In the case of criminal law, the perpetrator of the sexual abuse is prosecuted by the state and the goal is to ensure that justice is served by punishing an alleged sexual abuser if they are found guilty of the crime. The victim of the sexual abuse will know that their abuser will have been punished but they will still have to deal with the damages caused by this sexual abuse themselves since that is not the concern of criminal law. Luckily, there is civil law that allows sexual abuse victims to seek compensation for the damages that they suffered because of this crime from the parties that helped contribute to this terrible act occurring. Often times, the perpetrator of the sexual abuse will not be able to compensate a sexual abuse victim either because they don't have the financial ability to or because they are incarcerated. Therefore, those filing lawsuits will have to look to other parties for potential compensation. This is where lawsuits against entities whose negligence that helped contribute to sexual abuse come in.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Catholic Church and Boyscout Sexual Abuse Attorneys

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA specializes in handling cases of this nature where people that have suffered sexual abuse seek compensation from institutions responsible for their suffering. Those that have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of institutions that are notorious to contributing to sexual abuse through negligence such as the Catholic church, the Boy Scouts of America, employer sexual harassment, or institution should not hesitate to speak with Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about what our lawyers can do for you. Our firm offers free consultations to those with cases such as these and our lawyers are more than happy to at least provide you with invaluable information you will need to decide what your next step should be when considering legal action. To contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about a free consultation on your case you can either call our Clearwater office at (727) 451-6900 or fill out a contact form online.

Florida Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

The statutes of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits in Florida are different depending on whether it is a civil case or a criminal case. When it comes to civil law, the statute of limitations will vary in certain cases when it comes to lawsuits over sexual abuse. A person filing a sexual abuse lawsuit must file a sexual assault lawsuit within the following deadlines.
  • 7 years after the victim reaches the age of majority, which is 18 years old in the state of Florida;
  • 4 years after the victim leaves the dependency of the abuser or 4 years from the time of the discovery of both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse (whichever date is later between these two options); and
  • With sexual battery involving a minor under 16 years old, there is no statute of limitations.
The second of the aforementioned timeframes represents what is called the delayed discovery rule. Florida enacted these criteria for the statute of limitations specifically for cases that have abused in situations where they are perhaps unaware of the abuse or perhaps because they have repressed the memory so that they are able to file lawsuit not based on the date the crime occurred but based on their knowledge of the abuse. It is imperative that those that have faced sexual abuse be aware of these limitations or their case could be rendered invalid. In child sexual assault cases it is important to learn your legal options and determine what your options are and a skilled child sexual assault attorney can assist you with your claim.

File Your Sexual Abuse Lawsuit as Soon as Possible

Also, even though you may have several years to file a sexual abuse lawsuit against a liable party, do not delay. You should always make an effort to speak to an experienced attorney right away to get your case off the ground as soon as possible. Lawsuits have the potential to be long drawn out processes and it is important that you make your claim as soon as possible or the defense may attempt to attack your credibility because of your delay.

Seek an Experienced Florida Sexual Assault Attorney

If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of sexual assault and/or survived sexual trafficking then you are likely able to seek compensation for the damages you suffered through a civil lawsuit. Sexual assault and human trafficking affect not just individuals but whole families and even entire communities. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA provides expert legal representation to those seeking to hold those that sexually assaulted accountable for their actions. By enlisting the legal assistance of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's experienced sexual assault attorneys, you are giving your case the best chance possible at recovering a settlement that you can be comfortable and satisfied with. Our lawyers have been serving the people of Florida for years by successfully securing settlements for sexual assault survivors from parties whose negligence allowed for such tragic experiences to occur. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA offers free consultations to those that are curious as to how our sexual assault lawyers can assist in your lawsuit. To contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA you can either contact us online or call our office at (727) 451-6900. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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