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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 that falls within the lifted statute of limitations of the Adult Survivor Act “lookback window” has ended as of November 23, 2023.

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 as of 2019. 

What Was the New York Adult Survivors Act Lookback Window?

The lookback window offered 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 was temporarily unrestricted by time.

This window of opportunity expired on November 23, 2023.

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.

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 & Hellman 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 quickly after an assault, survivors can help meet time limitations and protect their right to pursue justice for themselves.

Get a Free, Confidential, No-Obligation Consultation 

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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