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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.

Elevator Injury Cases In Washington State Header Image

Understanding Elevator Injury Cases In Washington State

May 17th, 2019 Posted by Personal Injury 0 comments on “Understanding Elevator Injury Cases In Washington State”

Elevator Maintenance and Safety Precautions

As an elevator passenger, your only concern should be with getting where we need to go floor wise. Typically, you do not assess whether or not the mechanics of an elevator are in prime working condition. Too often they are not and this can lead to a life-changing elevator injury that occurs in an instant.  

An elevator that is misleveled or has unsafe components, such as old or faulty parts, is very often found to be the source of elevator accidents resulting in an injury. If an elevator cab sits even a fraction of an inch above or below the floor, passengers getting in and out of the elevator are at risk of tripping and falling.

There are a number of very precise movements and parts that need to be tested and calibrated regularly for the safe transport of people in elevators. Perhaps the most terrifying is a fatal accident that can occur from a lack of proper maintenance that results in a cab drop where an elevator falls uncontrollably from a tall distance.

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Common Law Marriage in Washington State

Is My Common Law Marriage Valid for My Washington L&I Claim?

March 6th, 2019 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “Is My Common Law Marriage Valid for My Washington L&I Claim?”

Whether or not you are married, the day you are injured at work can have significant financial consequences over the course of your claim. Married workers are entitled to an additional 5% of their gross monthly wages as temporary or permanent disability benefits. In addition, a married worker’s spouse is entitled to death benefits if a worker dies as a result of their injury. Sometimes, workers have lived together with a partner for many years without ever formally going through a wedding ceremony or obtaining a marriage certificate. They act, live, and present themselves to others as if they are married. These types of relationships are commonly referred to as “common law marriages”.

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Who is Charles Peterson, M.D.? | Washington IME Doctor | Washington Law Center

Who is Charles Peterson, M.D.?

October 29th, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “Who is Charles Peterson, M.D.?”

Who is Charles Peterson, M.D.?

There are multiple physicians named Charles Peterson, nationally, but this article references only that Charles Peterson, MD, who has routinely performed Independent Medical Examinations (“IME exams”) for the Department of Labor & Industries and Self-Insured Employers in the state of Washington. Please note that the entirety of this article is solely the exclusive opinion of its author, Spencer D. Parr, co-founder of Washington Law Center, regarding Dr. Charles Peterson.

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Dirt Earth Berms and WA Transportation Department

Dirt Earth Berms and the Washington Transportation Department: From Bad to Worse

October 22nd, 2018 Posted by Auto Accidents, Personal Injury 0 comments on “Dirt Earth Berms and the Washington Transportation Department: From Bad to Worse”

In 2006, state transportation officials funded a six-year plan to replace over two hundred dirt earth berms that were placed on Washington’s freeway system as a means to provide safety to drivers. As it turns out, the dirt earth berms were not only proven to be ineffective, they repeatedly were shown to be more dangerous; meaning accidents that happened in and around berms often times dramatically increased the chance of serious injury or death.

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