CIVIL LAWSUITS FOR MONEY DAMAGES
Under certain circumstances a sexual assault survivor can sue a
landlord, hotel owner, or employer for negligently creating a
situation in which a rape, attempted rape or assault occurred. For
example, a landlord failed to properly secure an apartment, school,
office or parking lot. Or an employer or a school failed to properly
do a background check on the building superintendent, doorman,
painter, mover or some other category of employee. These lawsuits
are civil actions in negligence for money damages.
Negligence actions must be started within a specified period of time
known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations
depends upon whether the person or party being sued is a
municipality, a state, or a private entity and whether the survivor
is a minor under the age of 18 or a person "under a disability".
Because the statute of limitations ranges from 1 year 90 days to
three years and some require filing a notice of claim within 90 days
of the assault, the survivor or the victim's family should consult
with an attorney at the earliest possible time.
A survivor can sue the perpetrator for money damages. The statute of
limitations is one year for these "intentional torts". If the
survivor was an infant at the time of the assault, as is the case
for most incest survivors, the one-year statute of limitations
starts to run upon the survivor turning 18. Please note that the
statute of limitations varies from state to state. If an incest
survivor was assaulted in another state, the other state may have a
longer statute of limitations or the statute of limitations may not
start to run until the date of discovery of the injury. The best
thing to do, therefore, is to consult an attorney.
CAUTION: THIS IS A NEW AND CHANGING AREA OF THE LAW. EACH SURVIVOR
INTERESTED IN BRINGING A CIVIL LAWSUIT SHOULD CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.
AN ATTORNEY SHOULD BE CONSULTED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO OBTAIN AND
PRESERVE CRUCIAL EVIDENCE.
MADELINE LEE BRYER, ESQ.
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