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What are the time limits to file a civil lawsuit over sexual abuse in Maryland?

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Sexual violence, which includes the abuse of children, takes a devastating toll on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Americans each year. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) estimates that by the time they turn 18 years old, one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused.

Survivors often suffer from a litany of long-term physical and emotional consequences, including fear, anxiety and PTSD. Treatments can be lengthy and costly, inflicting financial hardships on survivors, as some are unable to hold down a job as an adult. However, there are steps they can take to recover compensation here in Maryland.

Alarming statistics highlight the problem

Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual activity, where abusers use force, make threats or take advantage of victims who are unable to give their consent. NSVRC statistics outline the horrendous impact:

  • 30% of women were sexually assaulted between the ages of 11 and 17
  • 3% of women and 27.8% of men were under 10 years old when they were first abused
  • More than one-third of all women reporting rape before age 18 also experienced rape as an adult
  • Males are responsible for 96% of all reported child sexual abuse charges, while 76.8% are adults
  • 34% of perpetrators are family members
  • Only 12% of child sexual abuse incidents are reported

State laws mandate reporting sexual abuse

Under Maryland Department of Human Services guidelines, health care practitioners, educators, human service workers and police officers are considered mandated reporters and are required to report incidents of sexual abuse as soon as they are suspected.

Statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits

In general, people who are sexually abused as adults have three years from the date when the abuse occurred or was discovered within which to bring a lawsuit in Maryland. Children who are sexually abused may bring a lawsuit until they turn 38 or three years after the perpetrator is convicted of a crime related to the sexual abuse, whichever comes later.

Taking action against abusers

Survivors, or their guardians, may be able to file lawsuits against perpetrators to seek compensation for the physical, emotional and financial effects they suffer. Choosing a lawyer who is experienced in sexual abuse cases is the key to a favorable result. You should be able to identify the abuser, the place where the abuse happened and the approximate time when it took place. In some cases, you can file a lawsuit against the perpetrator’s employer. For more specific questions regarding civil actions for sexual abuse, call us at 877-341-2595 (toll-free).

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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