On October 1, a new law in Maryland went into effect that extended the statute of limitations for child abuse victims to bring lawsuits against their abusers. A statute of limitations is a time limit for a victim to sue a wrongdoer; if the time limit expires, it becomes impossible for victims to sue.
Previously in Maryland, a person who was abused while under the age of 18 had until the age of 25 to file a lawsuit. Now, a victim has until the age of 38.
The state legislator who sponsored the law, Del. C.T. Wilson, was motivated because he himself was once a victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of his foster father. It was developed in recognition of the fact that many victims of child abuse need years to come to terms with what happened to them before taking the courageous step of confronting their abusers in court. Additionally, as noted by Wilson, victims often require therapy for the rest of their lives, and civil lawsuits, when successful, can not only provide a sense of justice by holding the wrongdoer accountable, but also help lighten the financial burdens of therapy and other necessary treatments as they work through the issues they face.
The change to Maryland’s statute of limitations is part of a wave of legal changes across the country extending statutes of limitations for sexual abuse. Much of the impetus behind these legal changes is the case of Bill Cosby, whose alleged sexual assaults against dozens of women only became public knowledge recently, many years after the assaults occurred and long after the statutes of limitations in almost all of these cases had already passed. (Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., is proud to represent seven victims of Mr. Cosby in their ongoing federal lawsuit against him for defamation).
If you were a victim of child abuse and are interested in obtaining justice against your abuser, we encourage you to contact the attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., for a free consultation.