Can You Sue If You Were Sexually Abused As A Child Years Ago?
Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience that can have long-lasting effects on a person’s mental and emotional well-being long into adulthood. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse often struggle with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other consequences.
Many people may not be aware of their legal options for seeking justice and compensation for the harm they suffered in their childhood. If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, please know that you are not alone and there is a path to healing and accountability. Our Seattle sexual abuse lawyers at Emerald Law Group can explain your options during a free, confidential consultation.
What Is Considered Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse involves any unwanted sexual activity or behavior that is imposed on another person, regardless of age or gender. It may involve physical contact or non-contact, such as exposure to pornography or forced voyeurism. Sexual abuse may occur between family members, acquaintances, or strangers. Perpetrators often use coercion, manipulation, or threats to control their victims. Sexual abuse is a form of power and control that can have devastating effects on a person’s self-esteem and sense of safety.
Long-Term Impacts of Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse can cause a range of physical, emotional, and psychological issues, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Survivors may also struggle with trust and intimacy in their adult relationships. Some survivors may experience flashbacks or dissociation, where they feel detached from their own bodies or reality. The impact of childhood sexual abuse can be lifelong and often require ongoing therapy and support.
The Statute of Limitations for Civil Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse in Washington State
RCW 4.16.340 allows victims of sexual abuse over the age of 18 three years to file a civil childhood sexual abuse action from:
- The time of the sexual abuse itself
- The time the victim discovered that an injury or condition was caused by the sexual abuse
- The time the victim discovered that the act of sexual abuse caused the injury
As a hypothetical example, a man in his fifties suffering from anxiety, sleep disorders and sexual dysfunction begins seeing a mental health professional and discloses that he recalls being abused as a child by a clergy member at the church he attended. This would likely begin a three-year statute of limitations from the date of telling the mental health provider about the abuse. Despite the abuse occurring decades prior, a three-year statute of limitations would begin from the date of the disclosure to the mental health professional.
Discuss Your Options for Legal Action Today
Childhood sexual abuse is a devastating experience that can have long-lasting effects on your well-being. As a survivor, it is critical to know that you have legal options for seeking justice and compensation for the harm you suffered. Our lawyers at Emerald Law Group can help you understand your options for legal action if you were sexually abused as a child years ago. Reach out to our office to schedule a free case review. Call 206-826-5160.