California AB 218
Extended Childhood Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations
In October 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218 into law. The bill, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, brought about several key changes that greatly expand the rights of child sexual abuse victims.
Key changes under California AB 218 include:
- Expanded statute of limitations: AB 218 increased the amount of time for victims to file civil lawsuits against abusers and/or entities which failed to prevent their abuse. Now, abuse victims can bring civil claims until the age of 40, or within 5 years of their discovery of the abuse and/or damages associated with their abuse, whichever is later.
- Three-year revival window: AB 218 created a three-year revival window for adult victims who were abused as minors to file civil sexual abuse lawsuits that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.
- Treble damages: In cases where defendants willfully concealed or covered up sexual abuse, California AB 218 allows victims to be awarded triple the damages.
Why AB 218 Matters for Sexual Abuse Survivors in California
California AB 218 amends Sections 340.1 and 1002 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and Section 905 of the Government Code. It is viewed as a major victory for survivors of child sexual abuse, and mirrors similar legislation being passed in states across the country, such as the New York Child Victims Act.
In an era when survivors have more support than ever before, the amendments encourage victims to step forward with their claims, and provide a greater sense of justice when it comes to holding institutions and organizations accountable for their failures, deceit, and concealment of abuse. Per AB 218, any institution or individual who makes “a concerted effort to hide evidence relating to childhood sexual assault” can be compelled to pay three times the amount of actual damages.
Today, victims of child sexual abuse in California are no longer re-victimized by laws that bar their claims and cause them to run out of time to report abuse. This is especially important for abuse survivors, as many struggle for years before they are able to come forward, and critically important to protecting communities from known abusers, the majority of whom go on to re-offend when left unpunished.
Childhood Abuse Survivors with Previously Barred Claims Can Now Seek Justice
One of the most significant aspects of California AB 218 is that it creates a three-year window of revival for childhood sexual abuse survivors to bring what would have otherwise been time-barred claims against their abusers and defendant organizations. The revival period began on January 1, 2020.
This means that even if you are an adult and your abuse occurred many years ago, you may still have the right to bring a civil lawsuit for damages.
At The Zalkin Law Firm, we have helped many adult survivors successfully bring civil claims over abuse that occurred years or even decades ago. Examples of our results in these cases include:
- $2.75 million settlement for two survivors sexually abused by a Catholic priest in 1975
- $1.75 million settlement in a Montana clergy abuse case that occurred more than 40 years ago
- $1.5 million settlement for a 24-year-old male abused as a minor by a public school coach
- $1.25 million settlement for a 25-year-old sexually abused as a minor by a foster parent
- $1 million settlement over clergy sexual abuse that occurred over 20 years ago.
- $750,000 settlement in a clergy sexual abuse case that occurred in the early 1990's
- $675,000 settlement against a religious order for abuse that occurred over 30 years ago
Call to Discuss Your Rights & Options
California AB 218 is indeed a victory for sexual abuse survivors, but the laws surrounding civil abuse claims and the statute of limitations are still complex. At The Zalkin Law Firm, our attorneys help survivors across California decipher the legal complexities of their potential claims, and work tirelessly to guide them through each phase of their legal journeys.
If you would like to learn more about California AB 218 and how it may affect your potential abuse claim, call The Zalkin Law Firm for a free consultation.
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