Sexual abuse can be devastating for a victim and their families, and is unfortunately all too common. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports that every 98 seconds, someone in the United States becomes the victim of sexual assault. Additionally, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that approximately one in five women and one in 71 men becomes a victim of rape at some point in their lives.
Many victims of sexual abuse feel powerless and uncertain about how to proceed. Those individuals may want to consider contacting an experienced sexual abuse lawyer. A Palm Harbor sexual abuse lawyer would prove helpful in pursuing a claim.
Civil Basis for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Palm Harbor
Many sexual abuse cases involve criminal actions, and must be initiated by the appropriate law enforcement agency. The criminal punishments can be severe, but are not designed to specifically help the victim recover. However, a victim of sexual abuse in Palm Harbor has the option to pursue compensation through a separate civil trial in addition to any criminal charges.
All civil courts in the state of Florida require a person to have a cause of action, or justifiable reason, to pursue a case in a civil court. Civil law in the state of Florida, however, does not specifically recognize sexual abuse. Because sexual abuse is not a recognized cause of action in Palm Harbor, anyone who initiates sexual abuse claims in a Palm Harbor civil court often must name an additional justifiable reason why they are pursuing a sexual abuse case.
Some of the grounds on which sexual abuse claims in civil court may be initiated include:
- False imprisonment
- Inadequate security
- Intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress
- Negligent hiring or retention
- Negligent supervision
- Premises liability
A civil case can be initiated and pursued while a criminal court case is still open. Some victims of sexual abuse choose to pursue both cases at the same time, while other individuals decide to pursue one of the cases after the other has concluded.
The Applicable Statute of Limitations in Florida
The statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases can be complicated but a Palm Harbor sexual abuse lawyer can help. Certain cases of violent sexual abuse do not have a statute of limitations. Many other offenses, however, require that a person initiates their case within four years. If a person does not initiate a case within this specified period of time, the person will be prohibited from ever pursuing a case on this matter.
The statute of limitations is usually much longer for sexual abuse cases than for other types of crimes. The is because victims of sexual trauma sometimes repress their memories of these traumatic events until years later, or in some cases might avoid pursuing a case because they are afraid of their abuser. The extended statute of limitations on sexual abuse allows some leeway for victims to come to terms with what happened to them and still seek compensation.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Palm Harbor Sexual Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse in Florida, a Palm Harbor sexual abuse lawyer may be able to help. Call to schedule a consultation and begin discussing your case.