What Is the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023?
On April 11, 2023, Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed the Child Victims Act of 2023 into law. The new law eliminates legal time limits on filing civil lawsuits against institutions for child sexual abuse. Previously, Maryland law barred adult survivors of sex abuse from filing suit once they turned 38. The bill gained steam when Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown released a 500-page report documenting a long history of widespread child sex abuse and systemic cover-ups of that abuse by the Catholic Church.
An analysis from CHILDUSA shows the average age survivors report child sex abuse is 52. Under the Child Victims Act, survivors can still have their day in court regardless of age.
Every sex abuse survivor deserves to have their voice heard. To learn what steps you can take to seek justice, contact a Maryland personal injury lawyer at Trollinger Law LLC for a confidential and free consultation.
What Type of Claim Could I Make Under the Child Victims Act?
Under the Child Victims Act, you could file a civil claim against the abusers and the institutions that harbored them. Possible defendants include:
- Churches and other religious institutions
- Schools and boarding schools
- Colleges and universities
- Hospitals and medical providers
- Government agencies
Unlike criminal cases, in which the state seeks to impose penalties like prison time for the harm the abuser’s actions impacted society, a civil claim seeks financial compensation for the harm a victim suffered because of the abuser. While no amount of money can undo what your abuser did, holding them and the institution that enabled them accountable can bring a powerful sense of justice and closure.
By filing a claim under the new Child Victims Act, you could recover compensation for losses like:
- Medical expenses related to the abuse, such as mental health counseling or therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
The new law sets caps on how much money survivors can recover in non-economic damages like pain and suffering. In cases against private entities like churches, the law caps these damages at $1.5 million. The cap for suits against public entities like public schools is $890,000. The law does not restrict compensation for economic losses, which is money for measurable losses like medical bills.
Does the Child Victims Act Make Winning Lawsuits Easier for Victims?
By eliminating the legal time limits for child sex abuse cases, the Child Victims Act will make it easier for survivors of child sex abuse to file lawsuits at their own pace. Under the previous law, the court would dismiss any child abuse lawsuit filed after the deadline, no matter how strong the underlying case was.
However, winning a child abuse lawsuit against an institution for harboring a child abuser is challenging. You must gather evidence, provide testimony, and quantify your losses. Instead of trying to do so alone, turn to an experienced personal injury attorney for help seeking justice.
Need to Schedule a Legal Consultation? Here’s How to Connect with Our Lawyers
The attorneys at Trollinger Law, LLC applaud the state of Maryland for giving child sex abuse victims an avenue for justice, but we know coming forward may feel frightening. We’re here to listen to your story and answer your questions without cost, pressure, or obligation. To discuss whether you have rights under the Child Victims Act, contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney.