If you or your child suffered sexual assault, battery, molestation, or another form of sexual abuse, you may have legal recourse against the perpetrator and may not have to wait for the criminal justice system to hold that person accountable for their actions.
Sexual abuse often results in serious physical and emotional injuries. Therefore, state law allows survivors to file personal injury lawsuits against the abuse perpetrator and any third party who allowed the abuse to occur. If you are interested in seeking justice in civil court, a West Palm Beach sexual abuse lawyer can help you better understand the process. Contact a compassionate attorney today to schedule your consultation.
Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse
All forms of sexual abuse are crimes under state law and most people know those responsible may face criminal charges. However, many sexual abuse survivors may not realize that the perpetrator of the abuse can be held civilly liable as well as criminally responsible.
There are major differences between a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse and a criminal case for the same abuse. The biggest difference is that the criminal case is handled by local prosecutors. Another major difference is that, in a criminal case, it is up to the prosecutor to bring charges against a perpetrator, not the injured person.
However, in civil lawsuits for sexual abuse, the survivor can choose to bring their lawsuit and the prosecutor does not have any say. In these cases, the individuals who suffered abuse may be able to sue for compensation related to the damages they suffered. An accomplished lawyer could help the survivor file a civil lawsuit.
Financial Compensation for Survivors
A civil lawsuit for sexual abuse alleges that the abuse was a form of personal injury. This means the perpetrator caused preventable harm to the person and they suffered damages as a result. Legally speaking, damages may include any financial costs associated with the abuse the person suffered.
In a sexual abuse personal injury lawsuit, these damages may include therapy costs, medical bills, and lost wages among other costs. Medical bills and financial losses are termed actual damages, because they are costs someone actually paid and for which they can recover compensation.
Seeking Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Survivors of sexual abuse may also be able to sue for compensation related to the pain and suffering. Although no amount of money can truly compensate someone for their pain and suffering, financial awards may be able to help them seek any care they need to help them be able to move forward.
It is common for sexual abuse survivors to seek damages for the physical pain and emotional distress they suffered. State law allows survivors of sexual abuse to sue for damages based on the loss of enjoyment of their lives. It is often more difficult to calculate the amount of non-economic damages than actual damages a survivor may seek in court. An experienced West Palm Beach sexual abuse lawyer can help a survivor determine the amount of money they should seek for their pain and suffering.
Speak with a West Palm Beach Sexual Abuse Attorney Today
Sexual abuse survivors may have legal cause to sue not only their perpetrator but any third party that may be responsible for the abuse. For example, if a sexual assault survivor was attacked in part due to a lack of security in their apartment building, they may be able to hold their landlord liable in their lawsuit.
Determining whether multiple parties may be legally responsible for a survivor’s physical and emotional injuries is complex, as is the rest of the legal process. This is why you should contact a West Palm Beach sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible if you are interested in filing a lawsuit.