A statute of limitations is a law that gives a person a set time period to file a lawsuit. Once the statute of limitations expires, you are prevented from continuing with the lawsuit if a defendant objects to the late filing (and they all do).
In Hawaii, the Legislature looked at the impacts of sexual abuse on a child—including the inability of kids to disclose their abuse even if they don’t forget about it—and extended their statute of limitations to age 26, or within 3 years of discovering a causal connection between child abuse and a later resulting injury.
More importantly, Hawaii’s Legislature created a “window” of two years during which time anyone could bring a lawsuit against an abuser or an institution that sheltered them, no matter when they discovered their injury, and no matter if their prior claims had expired.
For a period of two years after [April 24, 2012], a victim of child sexual abuse that occurred in this State who had been barred from filing a claim against the victim’s abuser due to the expiration of the applicable civil statute of limitations that was in effect prior to [April 24, 2012], may file a claim in a circuit court of this State against the person who committed the act of sexual abuse.
Although institutional claims requires a higher standard to qualify under the statute, this represents a tremendous opportunity for child sexual abuse victims in Hawaii to seek justice and healing. The “window” closes in mid- April of 2014, so those who suffered child abuse in Hawaii are encouraged to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
I’m fortunate to be working on a case now in Hawaii with some great child abuse lawyers. The statute is impressive in its scope, and appears to be a very big step toward helping Hawaiian child abuse victims. Hawaiians should be proud of their Legislature for creating such an understanding and compassionate law.
If you have any questions about the Hawaii child abuse statute of limitations, please contact Kristian Roggendorf at Roggendorf Law using the form below.