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Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington - Washington Law Center

What is the Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington?

January 6th, 2020 Posted by Abuse, Personal Injury, Sexual Abuse 0 comments on “What is the Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington?”

The statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse in Washington is much broader than one would expect. The Washington legislature in RCW 4.16.340 increased the time for a victim to bring a cause of action. Legal action by the victim in a childhood sexual abuse case is to be executed “within three years of the time that the act caused the injury for which the claim is brought.” So, you could be victimized as a child and not experience a traumatic response for many years. This essentially means that there is no definable time limitation when it comes to childhood sexual abuse cases. Often times, it takes a forensic evaluation from a psychologist to determine whether a victim is aware of the harm that was caused by early childhood trauma from sexual abuse. 

Delayed Synonyms of Trauma in Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington

Washington Courts have consistently ruled in favor of victims and against those that have committed childhood sexual abuse or were in a position to stop the abuse. The Supreme Court has noted that the Legislature’s purpose in enacting RCW 4.16.340 was to provide a broad avenue of redress for victims of childhood sexual abuse. C.J.C. v. Corporation of the Catholic Bishop of Yakima, 138 Wn.2d 699, 712-13, 985 P.2d 262 (1999). “The three year statute of limitations on a claim arising from an act of childhood abuse does not begin to run at least until the victim discovers ‘that the act caused the injury for which the claim is brought.’” Miller v. Campbell, 137 Wn. App. 762, 767, 155 P.3d 154 (2007) (citing RCW 4.16.340(1)(c)). “Legislative findings supporting this statutory discovery rule state the Legislature’s intent ‘that the earlier discovery of less serious injuries should not affect the statute of limitations for injuries that are discovered later.’” Id. “The special statute of limitations, RCW 4.16.340, indicates that it is not inconsistent for a victim to be aware for many years that he has been abused, yet not have knowledge of the potential tort claim against his abuser.” Id. at 773. “Indeed, as our Legislature has found, childhood sexual abuse, by its very nature, may render the victim unable to understand or make the connection between the childhood abuse and the full extent of the resulting emotional harm until many years later.” Cloud v. Summers, 98 Wn. App. 724, 735, 991 P.2d 1169 (1999).  

Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington

More recently, the Court of Appeals in Washington has stated that the special statute of limitations that tolls civil claims based on intentional childhood sexual abuse is unique in that it does not begin running when a victim discovers an injury. Instead, it specifically focuses on when a victim of sexual abuse discovers a causal link between abuse and injury for which the suit is brought. The legislature specifically anticipated that victims may know they are suffering emotional harm or damage but not be able to understand the connection between those symptoms and the abuse. B.R. v. Horsley, 186 Wash.App. 294 (2015).

Recovering for Childhood Sexual Abuse Decades Later

Most victims of childhood sexual abuse are well aware that they were abused as children but have not connected all of their physical and emotional injuries to the perpetuated acts. Victims of childhood sexual abuse often do not realize how their work, family, intimacy and personal life have been impacted. Individuals who have been abused as children have known difficulties with addiction and the inability to have sustaining relationships into adulthood. The Washington legislature has recognized these harms and allow victims to recover even decades later. 

What Steps Can You Take?

Do not let the fear of the statute of limitations with regard to childhood sexual abuse prevent you from contacting an attorney to discuss your case. If you were sexually abused in Washington or by a resident of Washington, you very likely have a legitimate claim that entitles you to compensation. Contact the experienced attorneys of Washington Law Center today.

We have helped people who have been impacted by sexual abuse and sexual assault at every stage of life. Our legal team feels strongly that people who have been wronged in this manner should be given all the assistance they need to have a healthy life moving forward.

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Jail Deaths Have Become A Pandemic in The United States

November 12th, 2019 Posted by negligence, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death 0 comments on “Jail Deaths Have Become A Pandemic in The United States”

It’s a sobering fact that statically you are nearly three times more likely to die while in jail than you are to die from a stroke. That’s tragic, and for purposes of clarification, jail is defined as a sentence or confinement of less than one year.  The Federal Bureau of Prison cites that the rate of jail deaths for incarcerated individuals is approximately 128 deaths per 100,000 inmates.

Continue Reading Jail Deaths Have Become A Pandemic in The United States

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Emerging Trend: Communication and Resolution Programs

June 14th, 2018 Posted by Personal Injury 0 comments on “Emerging Trend: Communication and Resolution Programs”

It is no secret that hospitals, although often not for profit, are in the business of making money by providing medical care.  It is seemingly a simple exchange until something goes wrong. 

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, and based on its collected data, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. One logical inference from that statistic is that you are more likely to die from the medical treatment at any given facility than you are for the actual condition you are there for. This is not to suggest there is any malice or intent on behalf of these providers but the statistics speak for themselves.Continue Reading Emerging Trend: Communication and Resolution Programs

Tacoma Personal Injury Lawyers - Washington Law Center

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations In Washington State

January 30th, 2018 Posted by Personal Injury 0 comments on “Personal Injury Statute of Limitations In Washington State”

Were you or a loved one injured by or because of another person? You may have a personal injury claim, including a lawsuit to recover injury damages, lost wages, compensation for medical bills and property damages, and more; but your time is limited. To determine the statute of limitations on your claim, you first need to know what type of claim you have. As an overview, Washington’s personal injury statute of limitations is the legal timeframe you have to commence your action in court.

Meaning that, if you wait until after the Washington statute of limitations to expire, you will be barred from filing a lawsuit and will collect nothing.Continue Reading Personal Injury Statute of Limitations In Washington State

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“The insurance company said I don’t need a personal injury attorney. Is that true?”

November 14th, 2017 Posted by Personal Injury 0 comments on ““The insurance company said I don’t need a personal injury attorney. Is that true?””

It is very common for injured victims of a car accident to be told by an insurance claims adjuster:

You don’t need a personal injury attorney.

OR

An attorney is just going to take all your money.”

At Washington Law Center, we understand that there are a few circumstances where you may not need the services of a personal injury attorney but nearly every case where someone is injured in a car accident, the injured party will greatly benefit from legal representation.

One obvious question to ask is, “why would an insurance company not want you to have an attorney?”  Continue Reading “The insurance company said I don’t need a personal injury attorney. Is that true?”

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