Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
We often hear about sexual abuse in relation to crimes and criminal charges. However, sexual abuse may also be connected with civil claims for damages.
Many people are abused when they are young by people in positions of authority, older relatives, teachers, coaches, and other adult figures might be defendants. Even adults can be abused by those who hold some power over them. When you can sue for sexual abuse depends on your age when the abuse occurred. Various reforms have recently been enacted, and the statute of limitations tends to be longer for younger victims. Damages might involve economic and non-economic injuries, although there will likely be a greater emphasis on non-economic damages such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Evidence in abuse cases is infamous for being hard to obtain. Often, the abuse is kept secret, there are few witnesses, and time might have erased other evidence. Even so, an attorney can help you find what you need to prove your claims and get justice.
Schedule a free assessment of your claims by calling (814) 826-3586 and discussing your situation with our attorneys for victims of sexual abuse at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin.
What Constitutes Sexual Abuse in Scranton, PA?
It is common for defendants to be criminally charged after plaintiffs come forward with their claims. However, not all defendants face criminal charges. In some cases, the authorities do not believe enough evidence exists to warrant charges, or the defendant’s behavior does not meet the criminal elements for certain offenses. Even so, that should not stop us from pursuing a civil lawsuit. If another person touches you in a sexual manner without your consent, you should speak to a lawyer.
Some abuse involves serious physical abuse where plaintiffs might have been sexually assaulted over long periods. In other cases, the abuse was less physically injurious and more emotionally traumatizing or distressing. Either way, you should speak to an attorney about a lawsuit.
When victims are younger than 18, sexual abuse often comes from trusted adults. Teachers, relatives, or even parents might be abusers and should be held liable. The situation is likely a bit different for those who were adults when the abuse occurred. Many adults are abused by romantic partners. Adults with disabilities or health conditions might be abused by caregivers.
Suing for Sexual Abuse Injuries in Scranton, PA
Suing for sexual abuse tends to be tricky, even under the best circumstances. To begin, the statute of limitations on your claim might be shorter than you realize. If we cannot file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you risk losing your right to sue.
The statute of limitations on civil claims for sexual abuse has gone through some reforms in recent years. In 2019, new laws were passed in Pennsylvania that extended the statute of limitations for victims who were minors when they were abused and for young adults.
According to the newer laws, if sexual abuse occurred when you were under 18, you have 37 years after you turn 18 to file your claims. This means most victims of childhood sexual abuse in Pennsylvania have until their 55th birthday to file a lawsuit for damages. This is extremely important as many victims of childhood sexual abuse do not come forward with their claims until adulthood.
The law also gives more time to those who were young adults when they were sexually abused. If you were at least 18 but still younger than 24, you have until your 30th birthday to file a lawsuit. For those 24 and older when they are sexually abused, the standard 2-years statute of limitation would apply.
Possible Damages for Victims of Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Scranton, PA
In many injury lawsuits, plaintiffs claim an array of monetary costs and non-monetary injuries as part of their damages. While sexual abuse victims have the same opportunity, their claims often involve a greater emphasis on non-monetary damages.
If you incurred any financial losses because of the sexual abuse, our attorneys for victims of sexual abuse can help you add them up and claim them in your lawsuit. For example, you might claim expensive medical bills if you sustained serious bodily injuries from the abuse. However, many victims do not bring their lawsuits until years after the abuse, and calculating economic costs from the abuse might be very difficult.
Non-economic injuries tend to be the primary focus in sexual abuse claims. Plaintiffs often suffer a great deal of mental, emotional, or psychological distress and trauma. It is common for childhood sexual abuse victims to still live with this distress well into their adult years. As such, it would be wise for you to be evaluated by a mental health professional so we can determine just how deeply you are affected by the abuse. These experiences might not have come with a price tag, but they warrant substantial compensation.
Evidence for Victims of Sexual Abuse to Prove Their Claims in Scranton, PA
A common problem in civil lawsuits for sexual abuse is a lack of evidence. Evidence might be scarce if many years have passed since the abuse occurred. Even so, your attorney can help you determine if any evidence exists to help you prove your claims and finally get justice.
Even where all other evidence is difficult to find, your own testimony is key. In many cases, abuse is kept a secret, and there might be no witnesses who can testify about what happened. As such, you might be the only person who can testify about the abuse you endured. Jurors sometimes find the plaintiff’s heartfelt testimony very persuasive, especially if your memory is clear.
If possible, we should also obtain medical records from when the abuse occurred. Your medical records might help us prove that you were injured around the time the abuse took place. A medical expert might be able to confirm whether your injuries are consistent with sexual abuse.
Call Our Attorneys for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Scranton, PA
Make an appointment for a free evaluation of your case by calling (814) 826-3586 and talking about your claims with our lawyers for victims of sexual abuse at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin.