What The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act Means For Sexual Abuse Victims In Colorado
The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act strengthens the rights of childhood sexual abuse victims in Colorado. The law has a powerful positive effect on childhood sexual abuse victims and their ability to seek justice. This page will discuss the new law and how a Colorado personal injury attorney may be able to assist you with a sexual abuse claim.
The new law was signed by Gov. Jared Polis in July 2021 with broad bipartisan support and took effect on January 1, 2022. It creates a new claim for damages for victims of childhood sexual abuse and expands the time limit during which a victim can bring a lawsuit.
In Colorado, sexual abusers of children are criminally prosecuted and sentenced for their crimes, if the law is doing its job correctly. For the victims, though, a civil lawsuit against the abuser is often the only means of getting compensation that directly addresses the abuse. A civil lawsuit can help a child sexual abuse survivor pay for medical treatment, recoup lost wages, and obtain some closure.
For victims of sexual abuse that occurred in the distant past, the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act may be an opportunity to finally hold their abusers responsible. Victims of childhood sexual abuse frequently do not report their abuse for years due to fear of their abuser or embarrassment. This new law was passed to help sexual abuse victims who delayed reporting the abuse finally obtain justice. If you suffered childhood sexual abuse in the past, you may be able to hold your abusers and their enablers liable under Colorado’s new Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act.
What Does The New Law Do To Help Sexual Abuse Victims Pursue A Claim For Damages?
The sweeping new law affects the legal remedies available to victims of childhood sexual abuse in Colorado in many ways. Victims of childhood sexual abuse can now pursue a claim for damages under this statute. Additionally, the law expands or eliminates the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims in Colorado. The statute also allows a victim of childhood sexual abuse to hold certain entities liable for sexual abuse committed under their watch.
What Are The Time Limitations For Filing Suit Under The New Act?
Before the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act, victims of childhood sexual abuse in Colorado had six years after their eighteenth birthday to file a lawsuit. If a victim failed to file within that window, his or her claim for damages would be forever barred. Not surprisingly, many advocates for sexual abuse victims viewed this time limitation as unfair. Many victims of childhood sexual abuse take years or even decades to become comfortable to speak up about their abuse.
With this injustice in mind, Colorado legislators expanded or eliminated the time limitation for a childhood sexual abuse lawsuit. The time limitation under the new law differentiates based on whether the victim’s abuse occurred before January 1, 2022, or later.
Victims Of Sexual Abuse Occurring Before January 1, 2022
For childhood sexual abuse that happened between January 1, 1960, and January 1, 2022, victims now have a three-year window to file suit, until January 1, 2025. This three-year window even includes victims whose claims had expired under Colorado’s six-year time limitation. If you suffered childhood sexual abuse in the past, you may be able to seek compensation under this new law by filing a lawsuit before January 1, 2025. Visit us at our website to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys at Baumgartner Law.
Victims Of Sexual Abuse Occurring After January 1, 2022
For victims of childhood sexual abuse that happened after the new law took effect on January 1, 2022, the law imposes no time limitation for bringing a lawsuit. A person who has suffered childhood sexual abuse that occurred after January 1, 2022, may bring a lawsuit under the new law at any time. Going forward, sexual abusers of children in Colorado will no longer be able to avoid accountability due to time limitations on filing a lawsuit.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Sexual Abuse Under The New Law?
The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act makes it easier for childhood sexual abuse victims to seek justice from those responsible for their abuse. Under the new law, victims can hold accountable both their abusers and private or public institutions that turned a blind eye to the wrongful conduct.
Holding Private Organizations Liable For Sexual Abuse Committed Under Their Watch
In many instances of childhood sexual abuse, the victim suffers the abuse while participating in a private youth club or organization. These organizations can range from religious programs to outdoor clubs to sports leagues. It is an unfortunate reality that some adults who work for youth organizations take advantage of their positions of authority to sexually abuse children under their care. Sadly, it is also common for the youth organization that hired the sexual abuser to ignore or fail to acknowledge the abuse.
Under the new law, a victim can hold a private youth organization responsible for sexual abuse committed by an employee or volunteer. Holding a youth organization liable for abuse that happened under its watch is a powerful legal tool for victims of sexual abuse. This can also help prevent future abuse from happening in youth organizations.
If you were a victim of childhood sexual abuse while participating in a private youth program, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages from the persons or entities responsible. Contact one of our attorneys at Baumgartner Law today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Public Entities Can Be Responsible For Childhood Sexual Abuse They Were Aware Of
The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act also empowers victims to sue public employees and entities for childhood sexual abuse. Public entities that can be sued under the new law include public school districts, preschools, educational programs, and the Colorado Division of Youth Services.
Childhood sexual abuse is not limited to private youth clubs, and the new law explicitly recognizes that fact. Public employees such as teachers, athletic coaches, and school counselors stand in a position of authority over their students and use it to sexually abuse children under their care. Under the new law, students who have been abused can pursue justice from their abusers, as well as the public entities that enabled them.
If you or a loved one was sexually abused as a child at a public school or state youth program, you may be able to seek compensation under the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act. Reach out to us on our website today to get a free consultation from an attorney at Baumgartner Law
What Effects Does The Law Have On My Claim For Sexual Abuse?
Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act Stops Abusers From Victim Blaming
Another advantage for victims under the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act is that it prevents abusers and their enablers from trying to place blame on the victim in front of a judge or jury. In typical negligence lawsuits in Colorado, defendants try to reduce the damages they owe by assigning fault to the plaintiff. Under the law, a defendant in a child sexual abuse lawsuit cannot lower the amount of damages by casting blame on the victim. If you suffered childhood sexual abuse, the new law empowers you to recover the full value of your claim.
Defendants Cannot Make You Sign Away Your Legal Rights
The new law also stops another common tactic to prevent victims from acting on their legal rights. The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act outright bans the use of “liability waivers.” Defendants typically try to use these waivers as a shield against bad acts and to escape responsibility. The new law makes liability waivers invalid in cases of childhood sexual abuse. In effect, The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act will allow even more victims to get the justice they rightfully deserve.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive Under The New Law?
The trauma caused by childhood sexual abuse can last for decades and cause permanent damage to the victim. Sexual abuse survivors frequently experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and emotional damage. Victims of childhood sexual abuse often require significant medical and mental health treatment by professionals. They also may have mental health or physical issues which leave them unable to work or maintain meaningful relationships. If you have experienced any of these symptoms because of childhood sexual abuse, you may be entitled to damages under the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act.
Victims of childhood sexual abuse in Colorado are entitled to file a civil lawsuit for damages under the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act. The types of damages recoverable by victims include money to pay for medical expenses and costs for therapy for treatment related to the acts of sexual abuse. Plaintiffs can also typically recover damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress caused by the sexual abuse. Damages for pain and suffering will largely depend on the severity and duration of the sexual abuse. In certain cases, punitive damages may be available to punish the abuser and deter future wrongful conduct.
Damages In Claims Against Private Organizations
The maximum amount a victim can recover in a lawsuit under the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act is different depending on whether the abuser was a member of a private entity or a public agency. For victims of childhood sexual abuse committed by an employee of a private organization, the maximum amount of damages you can recover under the new law is $500,000. However, the new law increases the amount of damages you can recover to $1 million if the private organization knowingly failed to take action to stop an employee from abusing children. If you or a loved one were the victims of childhood sexual abuse at a private youth club, you may be able to seek monetary compensation from the wrongdoers.
Damages Against Public Employees And Public Institutions
The Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act also enables victims of sexual abuse at Colorado public institutions to recover damages against their abuser. For damages against a public employee or public agency, the maximum amount of damages a sexual abuse victim can recover under the new law is $424,000. If you suffered childhood sexual abuse at a public institution, you may be entitled to pursue an action for damages under the new law.
Deviant sexual acts or any sexual act that leads to sex assault often results in the perpetrator’s name going on the sex offender registration list. But the main punishment for someone who sexually assaulted someone else is criminal prosecution. Sexual violence is never acceptable. Survivors of any harmful sexual contact may benefit from the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act.
How Can A Colorado Personal Injury Attorney Help Me With My Sexual Abuse Claim
Sexual assault civil cases are complicated cases to pursue. A lawsuit may involve insurance companies representing different defendants. You will need the help of an experienced and determined sexual assault lawyer in Colorado who will do a thorough investigation, identify all the potentially liable parties and build a strong case for compensation.
Sexual abuse cases are typically complex lawsuits that can involve multiple defendants, usually including the abuser and the abuser’s employer. Many times, these lawsuits are about sexual abuse that occurred years or even decades in the past. Having a capable and well-respected attorney by your side to see you through the legal process as you file a sexual abuse claim is crucial to achieving a successful outcome.
Our Colorado personal injury attorneys at Baumgartner Law have experience in representing victims of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one has suffered sexual abuse, an attorney with experience handling sexual abuse claims can be of tremendous help. At Baumgartner Law, we have years of experience in personal injury law and are always available for a professional legal consultation with potential clients.