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Urgent Deadline for New York Adult Survivors Act

By Thomas P. Giuffra

The deadline to file an adult sexual assault civil case in the state of New York under the current law that stays the statute of limitations is ending on November 23, 2023.

A very important note to those considering filing is that the courts will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, which means the last day to file a civil case under the lifted statute of limitations is Wednesday, November 22, 2023, before the close of business. 

For sexual assault survivors and their loved ones who were otherwise barred by NY’s statute of limitations from seeking compensation and bringing their perpetrators to justice in civil court, now is the time to act before the “look back window” established by last year’s New York Adult Survivors Act expires.

Please note that this deadline does not affect sexual assault survivors whose civil cases are still eligible under the statute of limitations laws in NY. As of 2019, adult survivors now typically have 20 years in which to file a claim if the sexual assault took place when they were 18 or over.

Child (under 18) sex abuse victims have until age 55 to file a civil lawsuit for damages under NY law.

What Is the New York Adult Survivors Act Lookback Window?

The lookback window offers justice for sexual assault or abuse survivors who have lived with hidden trauma for many years and who would be otherwise ineligible to bring a lawsuit for damages against their perpetrator and/or other complicit parties or organizations because the statute of limitations in the case had passed.

Passed on November 24, 2022, the one-year “look-back window” established in the New York Adult Survivors Act marked a significant victory for survivors of sexual assault in the state. By acknowledging that the trauma of sexual assault can prevent survivors from coming forward immediately, justice is temporarily unrestricted by time.

This window of opportunity is set to expire on November 23, 2023, so the time to contact Attorney Thomas Giuffra, our New York sexual assault lawyer is now.

Once the deadline passes, survivors will lose their legal right to file a civil claim for compensation, regardless of how compelling the case may be.

A Shocking Number of Cases Go Unreported

A shocking number of sexual assault cases go unreported. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 63% of rapes and 88% of child sexual abuse incidents are never reported to the police. The reasons for non-reporting are numerous, including fear, shame, guilt, confusion, and a lack of faith in the justice system.

The lack of reporting also means that a significant portion of perpetrators are still at large, living unpunished for what they have done and left to potentially victimize others.

The “look-back window” was designed to rectify this injustice by providing survivors with the opportunity to seek justice through civil litigation, even if they never reported the assault to the police.

For Survivors, the Pursuit of Justice is About More Than Compensation

For many survivors, financial compensation from a civil lawsuit is a lifeline to take care of medical bills, lost wages, therapies, medication and other expenses related to trauma. Yet, the pursuit of justice is also about uncovering the truth.

By coming forward and filing a civil case, survivors can shed light on the actions of their abusers, potentially preventing further harm to others. In some cases, the evidence brought to light in civil cases has led to criminal investigations and convictions.

By waiting until after the “look-back window” closes, survivors risk allowing perpetrators to escape accountability for their actions.

Finding Closure

Delaying the decision to take legal action can have serious consequences for survivors. Memories fade, evidence deteriorates and witnesses become harder to locate. Additionally, survivors may continue to suffer emotionally, psychologically and financially as they grapple with the aftermath of the assault.

Seeking justice promptly can help survivors find closure, recover damages, and access the support necessary for healing.

New York Faces an Overwhelming Volume of Cases

The “look-back window” created a surge in sexual assault civil cases across New York. As of August 2023, nearly 200 sexual assault cases had been filed under the Adult Survivors Act.

At Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP, our attorneys have decades of experience handling sensitive civil claims related to sexual trauma, child abuse and assault.

Recently, partner attorney Thomas Giuffra has represented one of the victims of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. We have also filed lawsuits against NY urologist Dr. Darius Paduch, who is accused of multiple sexual crimes dating back to 2009-2022.

By acting now, survivors can ensure they meet the deadline and protect their right to pursue justice for themselves.

Get a Free, Confidential, No-Obligation Consultation Before the Deadline Expires

The November 23, 2023 deadline for filing adult sexual assault civil cases in New York is rapidly approaching. If you have suffered in silence and carried the burden of your trauma for years, it’s not too late to take this bold step toward healing and justice.

Our New York sexual assault lawyers are here to support survivors and their families every step of the way. We understand the complexities of these cases and are dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process with compassion and expertise.

Contact us today for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation to explore your legal options.

Thomas P. Giuffra, Partner

Thomas P. Giuffra, Partner

Thomas specializes in the litigation and trial of significant civil sexual assault, medical malpractice, personal injury, mass tort, and product liability actions. His innovative approach has led to 20 verdicts and numerous settlements in excess of one million dollars on behalf of his clients, including a recent landmark verdict for $58 Million. He has been recognized as "outstanding in the field of advocacy" nationally and internationally.

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