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Sexual Assault Civil Statutes of Limitations by State

The pain of dealing with a sexual assault case can be extremely overwhelming for victims. While you may have already gone through a criminal trial against the person who injured you, you may still seek compensation for the harm you have suffered as a result of sexual assault as an adult or sexual abuse as a minor. Each state has its own unique time limit for filing these types of cases, known as a sexual assault civil statute of limitations.

The time limit to sue the perpetrator can be extended or “tolled" in some instances if the victim is considered “legally incapacitated," i.e. a minor at the time of the alleged sexual abuse. The law recognizes the unique nature of these types of injuries, including the trauma that may follow the child into adulthood. In those states which recognize a pause or tolling of the statute, the clock doesn't start running until the minor reaches a certain age, typically 18 years old.

Here is an overview of sexual assault civil statutes of limitations by state, including the code, basic time limits to file, and any tolling provisions for child sex abuse.

State

Sexual Assault/Rape Statute of Limitations

Time Limit

Tolling/Extension in Child Sex Abuse Case

Alabama

Ala. Code § 6-2-38

Two years from the date of incident

No special extension

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 09-10-065

Three years from the date of incident for:
  • Misdemeanor sexual abuse of a minor
  • Misdemeanor sexual assault
  • Incest
  • Felony indecent exposure
Yes, action may be brought at any time for violations of the following offenses:
  • Felony sexual abuse of a minor
  • Felony sexual assault
  • Unlawful exploitation of a minor
  • Felony sex trafficking

Arizona

A.R.S. § 12- 542(1)

Two years from the date of incident in most cases; no time limit for violent sexual abuse

Yes, within two years of the victim's 18th birthday, or no limit if assault happened before victim was 15 years old

Arkansas

Ark. Code § 16-56-130(a)

Three years from the date of incident

Yes, extended to three years from the moment of discovery if person was under 18 years of age at time of sexual abuse

California

Ca. Civ. Proc. Code § 335.1

Ten years from the date of incident, or three years from date when the victim knew or should have known of the sexual abuse/assault

Yes, extended by Assembly Bill 218. Must file a lawsuit by age 40 or within five years of discovering the abuse as an adult

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 16-5-401

Three years from the date of incident

Yes, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 16-5-401, if the victim was under the age of 18, they have 20 years after turning 18 to file charges

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-577e

No time limit

Yes, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-577d. No later than 30 years from the date the person attains the age of majority

Delaware

Del. Code tit. 10, § 8119

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, Del. Code tit. 10 § 8145. No time limit for child sex abuse claims

District of Columbia

D.C. Code § 12-301(11)

Three years from when the victim knew or should have known of the sexual abuse/assault

Yes, within seven years of the minor's 18th birthday or within three years of when the victim knew or should have known, whichever comes first

Florida

Fla. Stat. § 95.11(7), (9)

Within seven years after the age of majority, within four years after the person leaves the dependency of the abuser, or within four years from the time of discovery, whichever occurs later

Yes, no time limit for Sexual Battery Offenses on Victims under age 16

Georgia

O.C.G.A. § 9-3- 33.1(b)

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, within five years of the date the person attains the age of majority. If victim is 65 years of age of older, time limit doesn't begin to run until the violation is reported to or discovered by a law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney, or other governmental agency, whichever occurs earlier

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 707-730-33

No time limit

Yes, no time limit for childhood sexual abuse. Can be brought at any time

Idaho

Idaho Code § 6-1704(1)

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, suit may be brought within five years of the victim reaching the age of majority

Illinois

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 735, § 13--202§ 13—202.2(b)

Typically two years from the date of incident, otherwise no statute of limitations if civil suit is based upon Class X felony

Yes, actions for damages based on childhood sexual abuse may be commenced at any time

Indiana

Ind. Code § 34-11-2-4(1)

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, case stemming from childhood sex abuse must be brought within seven years from the date of incident or within four years from when the minor is no longer a dependant of the person alleged perpetrator

Iowa

Iowa Code §669.13§614.8A

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, within four years of the date of discovery. Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation by a counselor, therapist or school employee must be brought within five years of the date the person was last treated by the counselor or therapist; or within five years of the date the victim was last enrolled or attended the school

Kansas

Kan. Stat. § 60-523

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, victims of child sex abuse have three years from the age of 18, or three years from the date the victim realizes they have suffered an injury or illness caused by sexual abuse

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 413.249§413.140(1)(a)

One year from the date of incident

Yes, within five years of the commission of the act or the last of a series of acts by the same perpetrator; · Within 5 years of the date of discovery; or within 5 years after the victim attains the age of 18 years

Louisiana

Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2800.9(A)Civ. Code §3492

No limit for first or second degree rape; six years for third degree rape

Yes, lawsuits can be brought until the victim turns 48 (30 years after their 18th birthday)

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 752-CMaine Civil Statute of Limitations

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, lawsuits for sex acts against minors can be brought at any time

Maryland

Md. Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 5-117Maryland Civil Statute of Limitations

Three years from the date of incident

Yes, within seven years of the date the victim attains the age of majority

Massachusetts

General Laws of Massachusetts Part III, Title V, 260-4CMassachusetts Civil Statute of Limitations

Three years from the date of incident

Yes, must bring lawsuit within 35 years of the acts alleged to have caused an injury or condition or within 7 years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that an emotional or psychological injury or condition was caused by said act, whichever is later. The statute is tolled until the minor turns 18 years old, however

Michigan

MCL 600.5805

Two years from the date of incident

No special tolling provision for minors

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 541.073

Six years of the time the victim knew or had reason to know that the injury was caused by sexual abuse

Yes, if the victim is a minor, the six year limitations begin to run one year after the plaintiff reaches 18 and would terminate at age 25

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. §15-1-49§ 15-1-59

Three years from date of incident

Yes, within three years of attaining the age of majority

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.046Missouri Civil Statute of Limitations

Five years from date of incident

Yes, childhood sexual abuse that occurred when the person was under 18 years of age, must bring a lawsuit within 10 years of the person attaining the age of 21; or within three years of the date of discovery, whichever occurs later

Montana

Mont. Code § 45-5-502; Mont. Code §45-5-625

Ten years from the date of incident, depending on the act

Yes, no limit for children victims. Can be commenced at any time

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-208

Four years from the date of incident

Yes, victims of child sex abuse can file within four years of reaching age 21 years old

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 11.215Nevada Civil Statute of Limitations

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, child sex abuse actions must be commenced within 10 years after the person either reaches 18 years of age or discovers the causal connection of the injury

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. § 508:4-9New Hampshire Civil Statute of Limitations

Three years from date of incident

Yes, either within 12 years of the person's 18th birthday; or 3 years of the time of discovery

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. § 2A:61B-1New Jersey Civil Statute of Limitations

No limit for victims of sexual assault; can bring suit at any time

Yes, no limit for victims of sexual assault; can bring suit at any time

New Mexico

N.M. Code § 37-1-30

Three years from date of incident

Yes, lawsuit must be brought either by the first instant of the person's 24th birthday; or three years from the discovery, whichever comes first

New York

N.Y. Penal Law § 130

No time limit for rape, within 20 years if second-degree rape, 10 years if third-degree rape, within two years if sexual misconduct

Yes, statute of limitations does not run until the victim has reached age 23 or the incident is reported to a law enforcement agency

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.21

No time limit

Yes, no time limit for sexual abuse against a minor under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.16

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-25.1

Two years of date of incident

Yes, 10 years of when the victim knew or reasonably should have known that a potential claim exists resulting from alleged childhood sexual abuse

Ohio

ORC Ann. § 2305.111(c)

Two years of date of incident

Yes, 12 years from the date of the minor's 18th birthday

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 95

Two years from the date of incident or from discovery of incident

Yes, tolled until minor reaches 18 years old or until 5 years after the perpetrator is released from the custody of a state, federal or local correctional facility or jail, whichever is later

Oregon

ORS § 124.005

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, lawsuit must be brought before the person attains 40 years of age; or not more than 5 years from the date the person discovers the causal connection between the child abuse and the injury, whichever period is longer

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Code 42 Pa. CSA 5533(b)(2),Pennsylvania Civil Statute of Limitations

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, 12 years from the date of a victim reaches the age of majority

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 9- 1-51

Three years from the date of incident

Yes, within seven years of the alleged act; or within seven years of the time of discovery

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-555

Three years from date of incident

Yes, within six years after the person reaches 21 years old or three years from the time the victim realizes that their injuries are caused by child sexual abuse

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws § 26-10-25South Carolina Civil Statute of Limitations

Three years of date of incident

Yes, within three years of the alleged act; or three years of the time of discovery

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104, 28-1-106

One year of date of incident

Statute is tolled until minor turns 18 years old, but must be brought within one year of that date

Texas

Civil Practice and Remedies Code Title 2B

Typically two to five years, but see statute to learn more

Yes, statute of limitations does not begin to run until 18th birthday of victim

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 78B-2-308Utah Civil Statute of Limitations

Four years from date of incident

Yes, victim of child sex abuse may file action at any time

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann tit. 13 § 3252, 5253(a)

No time limit

Yes, victim of child abuse may file action at any time

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-243

Two years from the date of incident

Yes, the statute of limitations is tolled until minor turns 18 years old. Then it is two years from the date of incident

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 4.16.340

Three years from the date of incident or time of discovery

Yes, statute of limitations is tolled until minor becomes 18 years old and then it becomes within three years of the alleged act; within three years of the time discovery that injury was caused by said act; or within three years of the time of discovery that the act caused the injury for which the claim is brought

West Virginia

W.Va. Code § 55-2-15

Two years from the date of the incident

Yes, two years from the date of the minor turning 18 years old

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 893.587Wisconsin Civil Statute of Limitations

Two years of the date of the incident

Yes, must be filed before the victim's 35th birthday

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. § 1-3-105

Four years from the date of the incident

Yes, eight years after victim's 18th birthday or three years after the time of discovery

Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through the enactment of new legislation but also through court decisions and other means. Contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Learn More About Sexual Assault Claim: Contact an Attorney Today

Each state has its own deadline for filing a sexual assault or child sex abuse claim in civil court. Sometimes, these laws can get complicated and confusing. If you're thinking of filing a civil lawsuit, you likely have questions.

It may be in your best interest to contact an injury attorney in your state who has experience with sexual assault and abuse cases and can advise you on deadlines, and represent you in court.

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