Can I Sue For Sexual Abuse When I Was A Child?

The answer is yes. The Child Victims Act, passed in 2019, changed the law so that victims of sexual abuse, that are under the age of 55, can sue persons and organizations for child sexual abuse, no matter how long ago it occurred. For example, you could sue a coach that mistreated you at your elementary school in 1970 or a pediatrician that fondled you in 1975. Since the law was enacted, many victims have collected compensation for the abuse they suffered. It’s difficult for victims to tell their story, so the patient kind ear of a woman child injury attorney makes it easier to come forward with your story. Claims must be filed by August, 2021, so it’s important to call an experienced Child Victims Act attorney in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx or Staten Island as soon as possible to arrange for a free consultation. Call 718-261-8114 for a free confidential consultation.

How Can A Child Victims Act Attorney In Queens Help Me?

The Child Victim Act effectively tolls the statutes and notice of claim requirements on actions for assault, negligent hiring, failure to supervise, and other applicable torts. The original statute allowed these claims to be filed until August, 2020, but it was extended a year due to Covid 19 shutting down the ability to file cases for many months in New York. The courts are now allowing new claims to be e-filed, so it’s a good time to start actions against abusers and organizations that allowed these incidents to occur. Any organization that employed people to work with children is liable for the the sexual abuse carried out by its paid or volunteer staff. It’s not necessary to prove that the organization knew what was going on, or that they failed to correct the situation. That said, abusers rarely target only one child, and in most cases when one victim speaks up, many others are emboldened to follow their lead. 

Who Can Be Sued Under The Child Victims Act?

It can be any public or private organization that employed a person that sexually abused children. Here are some example of the types of adults that might be liable for their conduct under The Child Victims Act:

  • A priest, minister, rabbi, imam, or other employee of a church, temple, mosque, or other religious organization that employed the person or allowed them to volunteer;
  • A doctor, nurse, physical therapist, chiropractor, or other health care professional and the medical practice or hospital that employed them or allowed them to volunteer;
  • A coach, camp counselor, scout leader, or other responsible adult and the organization that employs them or allows them to volunteer.

Virtually any situation where the abuse occurred when the abuser was given responsibility for children, can be the basis of a claim under The Child Victims Act.

Victims of Dr. Reginald Archibald at Rockefeller Hospital

Victims of sexual abuse by Dr. Reginald Archibald are successfully bringing claims against Rockefeller Hospital for incidents that occurred as long as fifty years ago. The hospital first became aware of “inappropriate” behavior by this doctor in 2004 and internal investigations confirmed the accounts of several victims. In 2018, Rockefeller sent letters to former patients asking them about their experiences, and posted a statement online regarding Dr. Archibald’s misconduct. It was comforting for victims to know that they were not the only child that was targeted, but the statute of limitations made claims time barred.  When the Child Victims Act made it possible for victims to sue, victims were able to get compensation and a sense of justice. It’s important to work with a Child Victims Act attorney in Queens that’s familiar with this type of case.

Should I Make a Claim Under The Child Victims Act?

There are many claimants coming forward to get compensation, justice and closure. It’s a very personal decision about whether to relive your nightmare by telling your story. I’ve found that victims get a sense of satisfaction and closure that brings them peace, in addition to the money they collect. Please feel free to call me at 718-261-8114 to discuss whether or not to bring a claim against your abuser and the organization that let him abuse you.

 

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About the Author:

Senior Partner Ms. Wittenstein began working at the firm in 1985 as a managing paralegal, learning all the practices and procedures of the firm from Mr. Wittenstein and the staff. From 1995-1998, she attended CUNY Law School where she made a mark as a teaching assistant for Civil Rights leader Haywood Burns. She founded a Human Rights Delegation to Haiti and studied Constitutional Law with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Working at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commision (EEOC), she learned a great deal about Employment Discrimination matters. She brought her knowledge of the Personal Injury practice and her passion for Civil Rights to the firm when she was admitted to the Bar in 1999. In 2000, she became a partner and the firm name was changed to Wittenstein & Wittenstein, Esqs. PC.

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