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The Child Victims Act of 2023 Changes the Law for Survivors in Maryland

In 2023, Maryland joined a growing list of states that have enacted legislation that makes it easier for childhood sexual abuse survivors to file lawsuits.  

On October 1st, 2023, The Child Victims Act of 2023 officially took effect, sending a strong, unmistakable message about the state’s zero-tolerance approach to child sexual abuse.  

The new law eliminates the statute of limitations for all future lawsuits based on childhood sexual abuse.  It also repeals the statute of repose, creating a permanent lookback that allows survivors to file retroactive lawsuits even if their claims have already expired under previous statutes.  Maryland is one of the few states to pass such permanent revival legislation.

This allows any survivor of childhood sexual abuse in Maryland the opportunity to file a civil lawsuit, regardless of when the abuse occurred. 

Prior to the passage of the law, survivors of child sexual abuse had until they were 38 years old to file a lawsuit.  

Upon signing the bill in April, Maryland Governor Wes Moore said “There is no statute of limitations on the hurt that endures for decades after someone is assaulted. There is no statute of limitations on the trauma that harms so many still to this day, and this law reflects that exact truth.”

The bill also raises damage caps for non-economic damages to:

  • $1,500,000 per incident in cases involving private entities and institutions
  • $890,000 per incident in cases involving local governments, such as public school boards or the Department of Juvenile Services

There is no cap on economic or punitive damages, except that the state government has immunity for punitive damages.  The Child Victims Act of 2023 also increases the minimum comprehensive liability coverage that county boards of education must carry, reflective of the $890,000 liability limit. 

For the Full Text of the Bill click here.

Why This Is So Important for Survivors

The Child Victims Act of 2023 fundamentally changes the legal landscape for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  It typically takes years, if not decades for survivors to disclose the abuse that they endured as children.  It can take even longer before they are ready to file a lawsuit.  By removing the statute of limitations and the statute of repose, all survivors in Maryland have equal opportunity to seek justice when they are ready.  Additionally, by increasing the damage caps and removing roadblocks for survivors, the bill sends a message to institutions that may ultimately lead to safer schools, churches, government services, and communities for our children. 

If you or a loved one has survived sexual abuse as a child, you deserve justice.  When you are ready, contact our firm.  We are dedicated to helping survivors and are here to listen.  We offer a free consultation and all communication with our attorneys is completely confidential.