Can I File a Childhood Sexual Abuse Lawsuit in Washington?


Many people who experienced sexual abuse during their childhood may not recall or realize what happened to them until years or decades later. Even when someone does have a grasp of what occurred, they may not always immediately understand the adverse impact it had upon their life.

Victims of sexual abuse in Washington state can file – and win – civil lawsuits against their abusers, even if the latter individuals are never criminally convicted. This includes victims of childhood sexual abuse, but as with most civil actions, the statute of limitations provides an important time limit to pursue legal action.

Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse in Washington State

In Washington, victims of child sex abuse have a lot longer than they may realize to hold their abusers accountable in a civil lawsuit. The law provides that when victims discover – or should have reasonably discovered – the injury caused by the sexual abuse, they have three years to file a lawsuit.

This provides a lot of flexibility for the timing of legal action. The earliest that the statute of limitations can possibly begin is when someone reaches 18, but there’s no set time limit from when the alleged abuse occurred. All that really matters is when the victim discovers a physical or psychological injury caused by the abuse – from that point, they have three years to sue.

This makes it possible for someone who experienced child sexual abuse to sue their abuser many years or even decades later.

Such was the case in Buschmann v. Kennaugh, where a Washington appellate court ruled in 2005 that a man could sue his stepbrother for sexual abuse that occurred when they were both children in the 1950s. Although the victim didn’t realize how much the abuse nearly 50 years prior has psychologically affected him until 2002, he was still allowed to proceed with his lawsuit.

Recovering Damages Is Possible – Even Decades Later

Those who experienced child sexual abuse can recover financial compensation for damages against them. Those damages can include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment in life, pain and suffering, battery, and even loss of earning capacity.

At Hester Law Group, we can help you recover the compensation you need if you are a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Whether your abuser was a member of your family, an adult you trusted, or any other individual, we can help you hold them accountable for what occurred – even if it happened many years ago.

Hester Law Group’s attorneys have more than 130 years of combined experience, which we’ve applied to achieve multimillion-dollar settlements in sex abuse cases involving educators, clergy, scouting leaders, mentors, and health care professionals. No matter who is responsible for the injuries you’re experiencing from sexual abuse as a child, we can help you hold them liable for damages by pursuing fair and just compensation.

Learn more about what we can do for you by reaching out to us online or by calling (253) 300-3034.