Suffering an incident of sexual abuse can cause serious and long-lasting injuries to victims. In addition to facing criminal charges, those who commit these egregious acts can be held liable in a civil lawsuit in order to provide compensation to the victim of their actions.
For damages to be recoverable, however, it is necessary to prove both that a defendant was at fault and that their actions directly caused you harm. A steadfast attorney with experience in proving liability and damages in West Palm Beach sexual abuse cases can guide you through the legal requirements for effectively pursuing compensation. Reach out to a dedicated sexual abuse attorney today.
A person who commits an act that leads to the personal injury of another person can be held liable in a civil suit. However, proving liability can be challenging without the help of a skilled lawyer.
Evidence of liability must fit within an established cause of action provided by state law. Causes of action that may warrant liability and damages in West Palm Beach sexual abuse cases include assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring.
Depending on the circumstances, both the perpetrator of sexual abuse and their employer could be held civilly liable, because an employer is responsible for hiring and training employees in such a way that prevents any instances of sexual abuse. A qualified attorney can help gather the evidence needed to demonstrate liability on the parts of multiple parties in cases of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse cases in West Palm Beach are tried as personal injury cases, and the damages that a plaintiff can claim in a personal injury case are the same for sexual abuse claims. A successful claim can relieve a victim’s financial burdens as well as reassure them that the courts will hold an at-fault defendant responsible for their actions.
The types of compensation a claimant can collect after proving liability and damages in West Palm Beach sexual abuse cases include payments for physical or mental health treatment, mental trauma, and a general decrease in quality of life.
However, calculating an objective value for these damages can be difficult, especially in cases where a plaintiff comes forward as an adult after suffering abuse as a child.
Juries are often faced with difficult decisions about the value of a plaintiff’s claim, so victims should seek an experienced attorney to help place fair values on cases alleging sexual abuse. In addition to compensatory damages, juries in sex abuse cases also have the authority to issue punitive damages, which are intended to punish especially heinous conduct.
According to Florida Statutes §768.73, the maximum amount of punitive damages that can be awarded is three times the amount of the compensatory award, or $500,000—whichever is larger. However, in cases where a jury finds that a defendant had specific intent to harm the plaintiff and in which harm did occur, there is no limit on awardable punitive damages.
Proving Liability and Damages in West Palm Beach Sexual Abuse Cases
Before they can receive civil compensation, plaintiffs in West Palm Beach must prove that a defendant’s conduct violated their rights under a specific cause of action defined by state law. They must also demonstrate how that abuse directly caused them harm.
A dedicated lawyer could help you prove these matters in court by gathering evidence to prove defendant liability and evaluating your damages that resulted from sexual abuse. Contact a knowledgeable attorney today to learn more about liability and damages in West Palm Beach sexual abuse cases.