Suing homeowner's insurance for sexual assault that happened in home?

by Angela
(Atlanta, GA)

I recently found out that my son who is now 23 was molested by his cousin in his grandmother's home repeatedly while he was 8 years old. My son is maniac depressed and I feel that this has affected his life. His grandmother has always known and never told me until recently.

My son has been psychologically damaged and needs counseling and medical attention. This happened so long ago but it affects him daily. He constantly thinks about it and it bothers me that this happened to him. I am emotionally distraught. I trusted that he would be safe with his fathers' side of the family and that was not the case.

What can be done? Can we file a case against the homeowners insurance policy where it happened? Is there any other legal recourse? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Suing homeowner's insurance for sexual assault that happened in home?":

Angela (Atlanta, GA):

Under the Georgia Civil Code, the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse is five (5) years from "the date the plaintiff (victim) attains the age of majority."

In Georgia the age of majority is eighteen (18) years old. Inasmuch as your son is twenty three (23) years old, he may still be entitled to file a civil damage claim against the sexual perpetrator.

While homeowners insurance covers injuries to third parties sustained as a result of the negligence of the homeowner or family members living on the premises, it doesn't cover the criminal acts of homeowners or family members living on the premises. This was true then, and it is still true now.

Here are several issues you must consider.

- The last sexual abuse occurred within five (5) years after your son’s eighteenth (18th) birthday
- The perpetrator must have sufficient assets to make filing a civil damage claim worthwhile
- To pursue a civil claim will requiring filing a lawsuit
- Your son must find an attorney who will agree to represent him

Georgia’s Child Sexual Abuse Civil Statute, Section 9-3-33.1

However, under Georgia's Criminal Code, for sexual abuse of a minor crimes occurring before June 30, 2012, a victim of child sexual abuse must file a claim against the perpetrator within four (4) years from the victim’s sixteenth birthday.

Georgia's Criminal Code for child sexual abuse, Section 17-3-2.1

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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