Sexual Abuse - Plaintiff Law

Can I Sue My Sexual Abuser?

This content contains sensitive subject matter related to sexual abuse.

It’s an unfortunate fact that people who commit sexual abuse often get away with it, even when survivors report the abuse. The prosecutor may not think there is enough evidence to go forward with the case, or a jury could find the abuser not guilty.

Sexual abuse survivors may be able to file a civil lawsuit, even if the abuser was never convicted of a crime. A civil claim can help you recover monetary compensation after child sex abuse. Talk to an experienced sexual abuse attorney in your area for legal advice about your situation.

Can I File a Civil Lawsuit After Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse is a crime, but it can also be a civil wrong where the victim of abuse can sue for damages. Victims of sexual abuse can continue to suffer anxiety, depression, and emotional distress long after the abuse ends. A lawsuit can help recover money to pay for medical bills, mental health counseling, lost income, and pain and suffering, in addition to punitive damages to send an important message.

The defendant is generally the person who caused the abuse. However, others may also be liable for abuse in a civil case, including your employer or an organization. For example, the Catholic church, Boy Scouts, and school districts have been found liable for fostering a culture that allowed child sexual abuse to happen.

Some states have specific laws for victims of childhood sexual abuse. In other situations, the survivor of abuse may be able to file a claim for assault, battery, or false imprisonment to seek compensation.

Are There Time Limits for a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

There are time limits for suing someone for sexual abuse. Many states have a statute of limitations that limits how long you can file a civil suit after abuse. For some states, the statute of limitations is only a couple of years. However, other states have passed laws specifically for victims of child sexual abuse that extended the statute of limitations.

An attorney can help you understand what the statute of limitations would be in a case like yours and whether you can move forward with a lawsuit.

Should I File a Sexual Abuse Case?

The decision to take your case to court can be difficult. The benefits of a lawsuit include recovering compensation to pay for your losses. You may also be able to hold the abuser accountable for their actions and prevent future abuse. It can be empowering for some to publicly confront their abusers.

However, the legal process can take a lot of time and be costly. Going through litigation can also be emotionally difficult. It can involve facing the abuser and reliving the abuse in court. The defense attorney may try to claim you are lying or that you consented to the sexual activity.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

Before filing a sexual abuse claim, talk to your attorney about what you can expect. Your lawyer has a duty of attorney-client confidentiality, so anything you say will stay private. A lawyer can explain the legal process, prepare you for trial, and negotiate any settlement offers so you can maximize your award.

Even if the abuser was never convicted of criminal charges, you may still have a claim for civil damages. The legal standards for a civil case are different than a criminal case. In civil court, plaintiffs only have to show that a defendant was more likely than not of being responsible. This is a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt. For any other questions about sex abuse legal actions, talk to a sexual abuse lawyer for legal advice.

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