Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Sexual abuse, sexual assault, and rape are all serious criminal offenses that can leave victims with mental and emotional distress as well as physical injuries that the criminal justice system is not always good at redressing. While reporting what you went through could lead to criminal charges against the abuser, there are also ways you could seek compensation as a victim.
Our attorneys can help victims of sexual abuse seek compensation for their abuse by filing personal injury lawsuits and other similar claims. Especially if you were abused by someone in their role as a priest, teacher, camp leader, or other role attached to an institution, we might be able to seek damages from the institution for putting you in danger.
For a free evaluation of your potential case, reach out to our attorneys for victims of sexual abuse at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin by calling (814) 826-3586.
Compensation Available for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Reading, PA
If you were injured or suffered mental or emotional distress from sexual abuse – or any kind of abuse – that could entitle you to damages. These damages are paid as part of a civil lawsuit against the abuser and any institution they acted on behalf of when the abuse occurred. Separate from the punishments issued by a criminal court, damages paid in a civil lawsuit are meant to set things right for the victim. This means paying them for the expenses and other harms they faced, including intangible harm like pain and suffering.
If you faced any medical bills from the abuse or sexual assault, these expenses should be compensated. This can include any mental health counseling or psychiatric care you needed because of the abuse as well as physical health care.
Victims also face many issues like depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and other mental health issues. This can lead to a lot of mental and emotional damage that our attorneys can assist you in filing a claim for.
Other financial effects of these symptoms and consequences of abuse should also be compensable in a lawsuit against your abuser.
Suing Institutions and Organizations for Sexual Abuse in Reading, PA
Victims of sexual abuse are usually entitled to sue the individual person who abused them. Abuse is an intentional act, and abusers can be held liable in court for the harm they intentionally cause another person. However, if they were acting as a representative of some school, club, institution, or organization, you could be entitled to compensation from that institution as well. This is somewhat common with regard to the following institutions and situations:
Sexual Abuse by Priests
There are recorded cases of abuse by priests and other clergy and people of trust in parishes, churches, and religious schools. In many of these cases, there are superiors, bishops, or administrators who knew of the abuse and perhaps took active steps to cover it up, potentially putting more and more victims at risk. In many of these cases, the churches, parishes, and schools these priests or clergy worked for can be sued alongside the individual abuser.
Sexual Abuse at Schools and Colleges
If you were abused by staff or faculty at a school or other educational institution, you could be entitled to sue the school. In some cases, schools know about abuse and cover it up, or they have reason to believe that their employee might be a danger, but they ignore those risks and keep the individual on staff anyway. Especially if there were prior allegations against the staff member that went ignored or the school took affirmative steps to cover up or hide abuse, they could be in severe trouble and owe you for the harm you faced.
Sexual Abuse in Scouting and Camps
Summer camps, after-school programs, and the Boy Scouts have all faced allegations of abuse by counselors, scoutmasters, and other people with supervisory or authority roles in these organizations. Like with other organizations, if the employers or administrators failed to act to keep children and others safe from abuse, the institution as a whole could be liable for your abuse.
Timeline of a Sexual Abuse Claim in Reading, PA
Bringing sexual abuse allegations is incredibly brave. If you are ready to begin the road to seeking justice for what happened, there are some procedural rules to keep in mind. It is also good to have some idea of what the process looks like so that you know what will happen next.
Each type of civil claim has a particular statute of limitations to follow. Generally, injury victims have 2 years to file their claims under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524, but there are special rules for sexual abuse based on the age of the victim.
First, victims of anything that happened while they were a minor have at least until they turn 18 before that 2-year clock starts ticking under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5533(b). When it comes to sexual abuse lawsuits in particular, § 5533(b)(2)(i) gives minors 37 years after they turn 18 (i.e., until they turn 55) to file their claims. For adult victims who were over 18 but still under 24, § 5533(b)(2)(i.1) gives them until they are 30 to file.
However, these rules were instituted in recent years and only apply to conduct that occurred since the law was extended. If your assault or abuse happened earlier, you may be required to follow the rule from that time. You should always consult with an attorney to determine what rule applies to your case.
Process of Filing a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
Most lawsuits begin without being a lawsuit at all. Your lawyer can often send demand letters notifying the defendants of your intent to sue, potentially resulting in an out-of-court settlement. If they refuse to settle, we can file a lawsuit and fight the case in court. That often means you will have to testify, so it is often better for victims to work through a negotiated settlement process. However, if you are ready to have your day in court and stand up and testify against your abuser, we can pursue your case all the way through trial.
Call Our Attorneys for Sexual Abuse Victims in Reading, PA Today
For a free review of your case, call the lawyers for victims of sexual abuse at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 today.