Sexual abuse or assault is a traumatic event for the victim. Sometimes, a criminal case against the perpetrator can be inadequate, if it is even brought at all, in restoring true justice for the victim.
Regardless of the result of any criminal proceeding, a victim has a right to seek monetary damages for emotional and physical injuries sustained as the result of sexual abuse or assault.
Not only can the perpetrator be held liable for damages in a civil lawsuit, but a third party can also be the subject of a lawsuit. For example, an employer who negligently hires a sex offender can be held liable for creating unsafe conditions that put the victim and perpetrator into contact.
At times, a civil suit is the only and/or best way for a victim to hold the perpetrator and third parties accountable for the pain they have inflicted. If you find yourself in a similar scenario and need assistance, contact a Tarpon Springs sexual abuse lawyer who can help. A tenacious abuse lawyer can work to get justice for you.
Physical and Emotional Injuries
During a civil lawsuit, a victim or the victim’s family can recover monetary damages for both physical and emotional injuries to the victim. These injuries can include physical pain or disability, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety.
Anyone can be the victim of sexual abuse and assault—including both children and adults. If the victim is a child, the child’s parents or legal guardians may have a cause of action against the sex abuser or third party who negligently contributed to the assault.
Lawsuits Against Sex Abusers
Unlike in criminal court—where the prosecutors must prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt—in civil court, the plaintiff need only prove guilt by a preponderance of the evidence, which is an easier standard to meet. Therefore, an abuser may be found not guilty in criminal court but can be held financially liable to the victim in a civil lawsuit.
There are several causes of action under which a victim or their family can sue a sex abuser. As there is no civil cause of action specifically for sexual abuse, the plaintiff can bring a claim under the following: assault, battery, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and more.
There are legal time limits associated with the causes of action a victim typically brings against a sex abuser. Called statutes of limitations, these time limits can be a particularly prevalent concern in a lawsuit surrounding sexual abuse or assault.
Sometimes the victim is very young or feels a sense of shame after the sexual abuse, leading the victim to postpone pursuing legal recourse until the statute of limitations expires.
In Florida, the applicable statute of limitations is typically either seven years or four years depending upon the facts of the case. Individuals should contact a competent Tarpon Springs sexual abuse lawyer to ensure that their lawsuit is filed within the applicable statute of limitations.
How a Tarpon Springs Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help
A lawyer who helps victims of sexual abuse has two equally important roles: aggressively pursuing compensation for the victim in court and treating the victim with the care and sensitivity they require. For more information about how a Tarpon Springs sexual abuse lawyer can help you, contact an attorney today.