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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 a victim. They may have already gone through a criminal case relating to sex crimes committed by another person. But survivors of sexual assault may also seek civil claim compensation for personal injuries. Sexual assault torts (civil wrongs) are privately actionable separately and apart from criminal charges. This includes harm suffered due to sexual assault as an adult or sexual abuse as a minor. The harm is not limited to sexual penetration and includes other sex acts.

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 get extended or "tolled" in some cases if the victim is considered "legally incapacitated." For example, if the victim was a minor during the alleged sexual abuse, the amount of time may get extended.

Civil and criminal statutes of limitations may be different. This article only discusses the former, as it is only about laws for civil cases. Victims of sexual abuse may be subject to varying multi-year statutes of limitations depending on where the wrongful sexual conduct occurred.

The law recognizes the unique nature of these types of injuries, including the trauma that may follow the child into adulthood. In those states that recognize a pause or tolling of the statute, the clock starts running once the minor reaches a certain age, typically 18. This means legal action may be available for someone who may have otherwise run past the time limit to file their civil action.

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 the incident

No special extension

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 09-10-065

Three years from the date of the incident for:
  • Misdemeanor sexual abuse of a minor
  • Misdemeanor sexual assault
  • Incest
  • Felony indecent exposure
Yes, legal 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 the 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 the assault happened before the victim was 15 years old

Arkansas

Ark. Code § 16-56-130(a)

Three years from the date of the incident

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

California

Ca. Civ. Proc. Code § 340.16

Ten years from the date of the incident or three years from the 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 the 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 reaches the age of majority

Delaware

Del. Code tit. 10, § 8119

Two years from the date of the incident

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

District of Columbia

D.C. Code § 12-301(11)

If under 35 years of age: the date the victim reaches the age of 40 years, or five years from when the victim knew, or reasonably should have known, of any act constituting sexual abuse, whichever is later

If 35 or older: five years, or five years from when the victim knew, or reasonably should have known, of any act constituting sexual abuse, whichever is later

Yes, the date the victim reaches the age of 40 years or five years from when the victim knew, or reasonably should have known, of any act constituting sexual abuse, whichever is later

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, there is 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 the incident

Under the Hidden Predator Act, a person who suffered childhood sexual abuse has until 53 to file a civil claim

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. §657-7

Haw. Rev. Stat. § §657-1.8

Two years from the date of the incident

By 26 or three years from the discovery of the abuse, whichever comes later

Idaho

Idaho Code § 6-1704(1)

Two years from the date of the incident

Yes, a 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 the incident, there is no statute of limitations if the civil suit is based on a Class X felony

Yes, civil actions for damages based on childhood sexual abuse may happen at any time

Indiana

Ind. Code § 34-11-2-4(1)

Two years from the date of the incident

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

Iowa

Iowa Code §669.13§614.8A

Two years from the date of the 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

K.S.A. § 60-513(a)(4) and (5)

Two years from the date of the incident

Yes, within 13 years after the victim turns 18 or three years after an abuser is criminally convicted for a child sex abuse-related crime, whichever happens later

Kentucky

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

One year from the date of the incident

Yes, within five years of the commission of the act or the last of a series of acts by the same perpetrator, within five years of the date of discovery, or within five years after the victim turns 18

Louisiana

Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2800.9(A),

Civ. Code §3492

One year from the date of the incident

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 the 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 the incident

Yes, within seven years of the date the victim reaches 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 the incident

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

Michigan

MCL 600.5805

Ten years from the date of the incident

No special tolling provision for minors

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 541.073

Six years from 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 one year after the plaintiff reaches 18 and terminate at age 25

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. §15-1-49§ 15-1-59

Three years from the date of the incident

Yes, within three years of reaching the age of majority

Missouri

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

Five years from the date of the incident

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

Montana

Mont. Code § §27-2-204(1),

Mont. Code Ann. 27-2-216

Three years from the date of the incident

Yes, before the victim of childhood sexual abuse alleged to have caused the injury reaches 27, or not later than three years after the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the act of childhood sexual abuse caused the injury.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-207

Four years from the date of the incident

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

Nevada

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

Two years from the date of the incident

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

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. § 508:4-9

There is no limit for victims of sexual assault; they can bring a suit at any time

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

New Jersey

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

Seven years from the offense or seven years from discovery, whichever is later, to file a lawsuit

Yes, before their 55th birthday or seven years from the discovery of damages, whichever is later

New Mexico

N.M. Code § 37-1-30

Three years from the date of the incident

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

New York

N.Y. CVP 213-C;

Adult Survivors Act (ASA)

Generally, 20 years from the date of the incident.

Adult Survivors Act (ASA) gives a limited one-year window to file in 2023 for conduct from any year.

Yes, the statute of limitations does not run out until the victim reaches age 55.

North Carolina

N.C.G.S. § 1-52(16)

Three years from the date of the incident

Yes, may file a civil action within two years of the date of a criminal conviction for a related felony sexual offense against a defendant for claims related to sexual abuse suffered while the plaintiff was under 18.

North Dakota

N.C.G.S. § 1-52(16)

Two years from the date of the incident

Yes, 10 years from 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 from the date of the 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 the incident or from the discovery of the incident

Yes, tolled until the minor reaches 18 or until five 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 the incident

Yes, a lawsuit must be brought before the person turns 40 or not more than five 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 the incident

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

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 9- 1-51

Three years from the date of the 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 the date of the 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 from the date of the 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 from the date of the incident

The statute is tolled until the minor turns 18 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 the statute to learn more

Yes, the statute of limitations does not begin until the victim's 18th birthday

Utah

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

Four years from the date of the incident

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

Vermont

12 V.S.A. § 522

No time limit

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

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-243

Two years from the date of the incident

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

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 4.16.340

Three years from the date of the incident or time of discovery

Yes, the statute of limitations is tolled until the minor turns 18, 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 from 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 the victim's 18th birthday or three years after the time of discovery

Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through enacting new legislation, 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 Claims: 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, especially for child victims who never reported to law enforcement. If you're considering filing a civil lawsuit, you likely have questions and need legal advice.

It may be in your best interests to contact an injury attorney in your state with experience with sexual assault and abuse cases. They can tell you about deadlines and represent you in court.

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