First and foremost, if you are visiting our website because you or a close family member or friend has been victimized, we are sorry that you have had to endure the nightmare of sexual abuse.
In a perfect world, the type of work that we do would not be necessary. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which reports of abuse in local schools, churches, etc. have become almost daily occurrences.
We are here to help.
Why file a lawsuit in the face of sexual abuse?
Thinking about filing a lawsuit?
After surviving sexual abuse, a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. Choosing to speak out and hold your abuser and those who enabled him or her accountable is courageous and can bring a measure of healing.
Under There are good reasons to file a sexual abuse lawsuit, take out the word “however” in the first sentence.
We have seen the devastating effects of sexual abuse on our clients. The emotional distress, shame and sleepless nights can lead to depression, drug abuse, failed relationships, problems at work and more. These effects often last well into adulthood for young victims.
Unlike a criminal case, a civil case allows you to initiate the process and you are more in control of your experience with the legal system. In criminal cases, a victim may be forced to testify against his or her will, but in a civil case, the victim has a choice about whether or not to proceed with a lawsuit.
Like a criminal case, a lawsuit can bring a sense of justice, closure, peace, or resolution to victims and their families. A criminal case is meant to punish the defendant, but a civil case is about restoring you. A civil case acknowledges your suffering and attempts to alleviate some of that through monetary compensation.
Even if a criminal prosecution was unsuccessful, a civil suit may be a good option because the burden of proving that the defendant was responsible is much lower in a civil case than in a criminal case. This is called a “preponderance of evidence” for a civil suit, instead of “beyond a reasonable doubt” for civil cases.
The effects of sexual abuse can be long-lasting and are sometimes expensive. You may need to regularly see a doctor or mental health professional. A civil suit can provide you with the money necessary to get you the care you need. Damages can include medical and therapy expenses, psychological damage (including damage to family relationships), and lost wages.
If the defendant thinks his or her behaviour was acceptable, or is in denial, they may refuse to change their behavior. A civil case forces the abusers, and the institutions that enabled the abuse to occur, to be held accountable in court and to pay reasonable and fair money damages.
This not only helps our clients by compensating them for their financial and emotional losses, but it makes it less likely that others will be abused in the future. When institutions understand the high financial cost of allowing sexual abuse to occur, they start to get serious about preventing it.
When should I file a lawsuit against a third party?
It’s hard to know when it is appropriate for a victim to file a lawsuit in the case of abuse, be it sexual or physical, against a third party. That is, someone or something that was responsible for you when the abuse occurred. A third party can be a school, scout group, church, hospital, foster care agency, or similar organization or business.
There are four reasons why it would be appropriate to file a lawsuit against a third party. They are:
#1: When there is a third party who was responsible for preventing the abuse (or keeping you safe).
#2: When the abuse could have been prevented if a third party had done its job properly.
#3: When a third party put you in a position that exposed you to a sexual predator or gave them access to you that the perpetrator otherwise would not have had.
#4: When a third party who had a duty to protect you knew of the abuse and chose not to intervene.
Since our first sexual abuse case over twenty years ago, we have become experts in litigating sexual abuse cases in California.
We have handled many sexual abuse cases in our 30 years in practice, and we have obtained many large recoveries for our clients. We know the experts that are needed.
We often attempt to resolve cases through settlement, in order to avoid the emotional stress that a trial may impose on a sexual abuse victim. At the same time, we are always prepared to take every case to trial if necessary to obtain a fair verdict and just result. We leave no stone unturned in preparing your case.
We also give each client personalized attention. Unlike with some larger firms, you will have a team of attorneys working on your case and walking through this difficult time with you.
We know that starting the process can be difficult. Contact us when you are ready. We’ll be ready.