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How Can I File a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse in New York?

Answers from Trusted New York Attorneys

You can file a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse with the assistance of our trusted New York sexual assault lawyers. Lawsuits of this nature may extend beyond the perpetrator to other parties who may also bear responsibility, such as corporations or religious organizations, making the case more complex.

Our skilled lawyers at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP have represented clients in high-profile sexual assault cases, such as civil cases against Harvey Weinstein, and can file a lawsuit for sexual abuse on your behalf even if the perpetrator was not charged criminally or was eventually acquitted of charges. Our firm is committed to providing individualized attention for every case, as well as investing resources into building a solid case.

We will hold all entities accountable that should have known about the abuse, willfully ignored it or failed to protect others. Our mission is to secure justice and appropriate compensation for sexual abuse victims in the state of New York. We invite you to learn more about our renowned lead attorney on these types of cases, Thomas P. Giuffra, and contact the firm for a free and completely confidential consultation.


Defendants in Sexual Abuse Cases

Perpetrators of sexual abuse often have little in the way of assets. Though the abuser is a critical figure in the legal battle, other parties may have enabled the perpetrator and could be named as defendants in the lawsuit.

These third-party defendants may include business organizations, religious establishments, private schools, contractors, and others that knew or should have known about the abuse taking place either at their behest or within their purview. For example, if a tenant is sexually assaulted in their apartment building and lax security measures contributed to the attack, the property owner may be held liable.

How Can I Ensure That I Have a Strong Sex Abuse Lawsuit?

As with any civil case, a strong sex abuse lawsuit depends on the evidence. Victims should report it to the police immediately and seek immediate medical attention. Crime scene evidence, such as bodily fluids and clothing fibers, can help prove your case.

Other examples of strong evidence include:

  • Testimony from partners, family members, or friends regarding how the abuse affected you
  • Any prior criminal history of the defendant regarding sexual assault
  • Expert medical or psychiatric testimony
  • Medical or therapy records
  • Any witnesses to the incident

Many survivors of sexual abuse know their assailants. If you communicated with the abuser before or after the assault, inform your attorney. The information in texts or emails can also help establish fault.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit in New York?

In May 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law the Adult Survivor’s Act (ASA), which took effect in November 2022. The ASA created a one-year lookback window for those over 18 at the time of their assault. Adults had until November 23, 2023, to file a sexual abuse lawsuit without any statute of limitations. Beginning in 2019, the statute of limitations to file is now 20 years.

If you would like to speak with our sexual abuse and assault lawyers in New York, complete our contact form or call (212) 684-1880 to schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable legal team.

Standard of Proof in Civil Cases

The standard of proof in criminal cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In civil cases which do not involve potential incarceration, the standard of proof is the lower “a preponderance of the evidence.” This standard means that something is more likely than not.


Potential Damages

Potential compensation, or damages, in a New York sexual assault lawsuit, may include:

  • Medical expenses associated with the assault
  • Lost wages if you could not work due to the effects of the assault
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Pain and suffering

Sometimes, when the sexual abuse or assault is extraordinarily malicious, the jury may award the plaintiff punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the defendant.


Contact a New York Sexual Abuse and Assault Lawyer

If you were the victim of sexual abuse and want to know more about filing a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse, contact the New York Sexual Abuse and Assault Attorneys at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. We serve all boroughs of New York City. Because we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation. We fight for victims of sexual abuse or assault.

Send us a message or call (212) 684-1880 for a free consultation with our compassionate New York attorneys.