Learn About the New California Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act
Regardless of when your sexual assault occurred, you may now have a second chance to sue those responsible for your sexual assault in California.
California joins the ranks of states, such as New York, allowing adult sexual assault survivors to file a civil lawsuit against their attackers even after the original statute of limitations has expired. On December 14, 2022, Governor Newsom signed into law the California Assembly Bill 2777 (AB2777), otherwise known as the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act.
Under this new law, adult sexual assault survivors with claims from January 1, 2009, may now have a limited window to file a civil lawsuit against their attackers. Furthermore, sexual assault survivors will receive an extended time period after a sexual assault to file their civil lawsuits against their attackers moving forward. Read on to learn more about the law and how this new sexual assault law signed by Governor Newsom may help you fight for the justice you deserve.
What Is the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act?
The new California sexual assault law, known as the Sexual Assault Cover-Up Accountability Act, is a law passed with bi-partisan support in California. This new law extends the time period for sexual assault survivors to file a lawsuit against their attackers. The extended time allows survivors more time to process what happened to them and prepare themselves to face their attackers.
What Does the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act Do?
The law makes several changes to the current California sexual assault laws.
- First, the law extends the statute of limitations to the latter of the following deadlines:
- Within ten years from the date of the last act, attempted act, or assault with the intent to commit an act of sexual assault.
For example, imagine your co-worker had pulled you aside and attempted to perform sexual acts on you. However, you were able to get away. Therefore, you were not actually sexually assaulted. However, there was an intent to sexually assault you. Under this law, you would have ten years to file a claim against your attempted attacker for sexual assault.
- Within three years from the date the sexual assault survivor discovers or reasonably should have discovered that an injury or illness resulted from an act, attempted act, or assault with the intent to commit an act, of sexual assault.
For example, you were sexually assaulted in 2012. In 2020, you and your new spouse attempt to have a baby. You learn that the sexual assault you suffered in 2012 ruined your uterus, making you unable to carry a baby to term. You would have 3 years from 2020 (when you learned of the damage done to your uterus) to file a claim against your attacker.
The law provides a look-back period for anyone with sexual assault claims dating back to January 1, 2009, or after. These sexual assault survivors may file such claims under these new deadlines between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2026.
- In addition to the change in the statute of limitations, for sexual assaults even before January 1, 2009, the new California sexual assault law provides an opportunity for sexual assault survivors to hold their attackers accountable when they were forced to keep quiet about an attack previously. Under this provision of the law, individuals have a one-year window to file a claim regarding a cover-up of sexual assault or sexual harassment (from January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023) if they meet the following criteria:
- The sexual assault survivor was sexually assaulted or was subjected to other inappropriate conduct, communication, or activity of a sexual nature.
- One or more entities are legally responsible for damages arising out of the sexual assault or other inappropriate conduct, communication, or activity of a sexual nature.
- The entity or entities, including, but not limited to, their officers, directors, representatives, employees, or agents, engaged in a cover-up or attempted a cover-up of a previous instance or allegations of sexual assault or other inappropriate conduct, communication, or activity of a sexual nature by an alleged perpetrator of such abuse.
In other words, if a survivor of sexual assault was also the victim of a deliberate attempt to hide or disregard the sexual assault, or other inappropriate and illegal acts of sexual misconduct, the survivor may be eligible to bring a claim under the new California sexual assault law regardless of when it happened.
For example, in 2009, your boss coerced you into sexual intercourse in order to get a promotion. You protested. However, he threatened to fire you if you did not comply. He then told you that if you ever told anyone he would fire you and frame you for embezzlement. Under this new law, you have the right to file a claim for the sexual assault, sexual harassment, and forcing you to keep the assault quiet.
3. Finally, the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Actallows sexual assault victims to revive claims of wrongful termination and sexual harassment as they fit under the provisions of the laws stated above.
Who Does the California Sexual Assault Law Help?
The law applies to any sexual assault victims who have not filed a claim for sexual assault that occurred on or after January 1, 2009. These individuals have the opportunity to seek full compensation for the injustices they suffered at the hands of their attackers, companies, and employers.
When Can I File a Claim Under the New California Sexual Assault Law?
Sexual assault survivors in California may file their claim under the new California sexual assault law as early as January 1, 2023. However, to take advantage of the cover-up aspect of the law, sexual assault survivors only have one year to file their claims. Therefore, they must file such claims between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023.
California sexual assault survivors who were assaulted after January 1, 2009, may file their claims at any time starting January 1, 2023, and no later than December 31, 2026.
How Can I File My Sexual Assault Claim Under the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act?
If you are an adult survivor of sexual assault from January 1, 2009, or after, you may be entitled to proper compensation and justice. In order to get the closure you deserve. You should speak with a sexual assault lawyer. A sexual assault attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your claim. They can file the proper paperwork as needed and ensure you have your day in court.
Suppose your claim also includes issues relating to wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and more. In that case, you may want to speak with a qualified sexual harassment lawyer in California to help you ensure you get the justice you deserve.
The dedicated and compassionate sexual assault and sexual harassment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group in Los Angeles and San Francisco can help you file your claim under the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act. Call us at 800.807.2209 for a free consultation today.