Statute of limitations for filing a civil action for sexual assault extended to 10 years

Effective January 1, 2019, a new statute provides that plaintiffs suing perpetrators of sexual assault in civil court have 10 years from the date of the assault to file a civil suit. (Code of Civ. Proc. § 340.16.) Alternatively, plaintiffs have up to 3 years from the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that an injury or an illness resulted from an act, attempted act, or assault with the intent to commit the act. (Code of Civ. Proc. § 340.16.)

This is a substantial shift from previous law, which did not provide any special statutes of limitations for sexual assault causes of action. Instead, plaintiffs were previously held to the general statutes of limitations for battery, which is 2 years, or domestic violence, which is 3 years. (Code of Civ. Proc. §§ 335.1 and 340.15.) Recovery under this cause of action can include monetary damages for medical injuries as well as compensation for emotional pain and suffering. 

ADZ Law welcomes the new law, as survivors of sexual assault often justifiably have reasons for not pursuing remedies immediately. This survivor-centered law provides victims more of an opportunity to proceed at a pace consistent with their healing.