Among the most egregious acts that a person can commit is a crime of sexual abuse. Whether the crime is committed against a child, senior citizen, or an adult, Florida’s criminal justice system aims to punish these defendants to the fullest extent of the law. However, in many cases, the defendant is not convicted due to a prosecutor not being able to meet the high standard of proof required for a criminal case. This does not mean that victims of sexual abuse do not have recourse against their assailants.
Dunedin sexual abuse lawyers work with clients to file civil claims against their attackers to bring financial compensation and take another step towards peace of mind. Contact an experienced injury attorney who can help you pursue a claim and justice today.
Sexual Abuse Laws in Florida
Sexual assault is, of course, prohibited by Florida’s criminal justice system. If a person is accused of sexual assault they may be tried, convicted, and sentenced in criminal court.
All of this has nothing to do with a civil sexual assault claim. The criminal and civil justice systems are related, but separate. Regardless of the outcome of a criminal case, a victim of sexual abuse may file a claim in civil court for damages.
This claim will center around any number of causes of actions known as intentional torts. There is no tort in civil law known as “sexual abuse,” but Dunedin attorneys will evaluate the facts of their clients case to determine under which of the intentional torts to file their case. Examples of these include:
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- False imprisonment
Additionally, a plaintiff might consider adding a company or landowner as another defendant in addition to the assailant.
If the assailant was at work when the abuse occurred or in a private space, the business owner or landlord may be responsible for negligent hiring or inadequate security that allowed the assailant to come into contact with you.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for claims involving sexual abuse is more complicated than those for a normal personal injury case. A statute of limitations is defined as a time limit within which a plaintiff must initiate their claim in court. Florida Statute 95.11 Sections 7 and 9 describe these limits as:
- If the plaintiff was under the age of 16 and was the victim of sexual battery, a claim can be filed at any time
- For all other forms of abuse, if the victim was under 18, they have seven years after reaching the age of 18 to file a claim. In other words, until they reach 25
- If the defendant was dependent upon the abuser, they have up to four years after leaving the abuser. This can apply to victims of all ages
- In all other instances, the injured party has four years after the discovery of the injuries. This can be more than four years after the abuse ends since phenomena such as repressed memories can delay the discovery of the abuse
Contacting a Dunedin Sexual Abuse Attorney
When a person faces sexual abuse as either a child or an adult, the situation can be life-changing and traumatic. Certainly, the victim should contact the police and let the criminal justice system work its way through the case. However, regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, the victim still has recourse through the civil system.
Dunedin sexual abuse lawyers represent clients to fight for compensation from their abusers in the civil courts. They will listen to your story with compassion and patience.
Afterward, they will determine all possible defendants, develop a theory of your case, and litigate your case with diligence and vigor. When you are ready to pursue justice from your abuser, contact Dunedin sexual abuse attorneys.