Colorado Senate Bills 73 and 88 Change Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations
Following decades of work that lawmakers put in to change the state of Colorado’s sexual assault laws, Governor Jared Polis has signed two new bills that would change our state’s statute of limitations of civil claims for sexual assault: Senate Bills 73 and 88. These two bills now allow future victims of sexual assault to file civil claims without the risk of missing the statute of limitations deadline, as well as allowing child victims of sexual assault to file claims against entities that allowed sexual misconduct to occur. Under these bills, victims of sexual assault have new avenues for receiving compensation for their injuries.
Senate Bill 73 Removes Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault Civil Claims
Senate Bill 73 was signed by Gov. Jared Polis on April 4, 2021, significantly changing our state’s statute of limitation laws for sexual assault claims. Prior to this law, the statute of limitations for civil sexual assault claims was six years from the date of the assault. This new law removes the statute of limitations for civil claims for any case that occurs on or after January 1, 2022. In addition, plaintiffs who were victims of sexual assault between January 1, 2016, and January 1, 2022, now have an indefinite amount of time to file a civil claim against their abuser, provided that the statute of limitations for the offenses has not already run. The law requires analysis of earlier law and certain facts if your claim arose during the time period between January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2022, that is why you need to call now.
Public and Private Entities Are Now Liable for Misconduct and Abuse
On July 8, 2021, Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 88, also known as the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act, creating a new avenue for compensation and justice for underage victims of sexual assault. Under this new law, underage victims of sexual assault can pursue claims against organizations that operated or managed youth-related activities or programs, if the organization was aware of — or reasonably should have been aware of — sexual misconduct against minors and the organization “did not take action to address the risks or warn participants.”
This law also allows minor victims to file claims against government entities, including school districts and preschool programs. It will apply retroactively to cases before, on, or after January 1, 2022, and as far back as January 1, 1960. However; acts that occurred between January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2022, must be filed before January 1, 2025
Senate Bill 88 caps damages for civil claims:
- $387,000 for claims against public entity
- $500,000 up to $1,000,000 for claims against private entities, depending on the circumstances
Your Options Moving Forward
The physical and psychological impact of sexual assault can last for years, and societal stigma has prevented many victims from coming forward, with many missing the statute of limitations. With the signing of these two laws, victims of sexual assault are now able to hold their abusers accountable in a civil court, as well as the organization that allowed the abuse to occur and did nothing to protect the victims, without being beholden to our state’s old statute of limitations.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of sexual assault, we encourage you to reach out to us at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. Our personal injury attorneys can sit down with you in a free consultation, listen to your story, explain your options under the law, and advocate for your best interests in a civil claim. We are available at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free at (877) 433-3906, so do not hesitate to call us to discuss your claim.