How Long Do Sexual Abuse Cases Take to Settle?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

For survivors of sexual abuse, choosing to file a lawsuit can be the first step in receiving justice. However, lawsuits take time to end. You might have heard that settlements are a quick way to resolve a case. While settling can be faster than going to trial, it can still take a long time.

Sexual abuse cases can take weeks, months, or even years to settle. Whether or not all parties are inclined to settle can determine how long it will take. Even if both the defendant and plaintiff have agreed to settle out of court, discussion on the settlement amount can take a considerable amount of time. However, settling can remove the need for your case to go to court, which can take years.

For over 20 years, The Law Office of Andrew Shubin has represented survivors and fought for their interests. Our dedicated team can guide you through settlement discussions and get you the damages you deserve. Reach out to us at (814) 826-3586.

How Long Does It Take to Settle a Sexual Abuse Case?

Survivors might choose to settle their case to quicken the litigation process. Settling is when both parties agree to end the case outside of court. By doing this, a defendant accepts fault and agrees to pay a certain amount in financial damages. While it may seem like settling is a simple process, it can take a long time.

Before settlement occurs, there are usually negotiations and potential mediation. In a lawsuit, mediation happens between the defendant’s and plaintiff’s lawyers and is facilitated by a third party. During this time, both sides attempt to resolve the lawsuit to prevent it from going to court. These discussions can take weeks or even months. The length of negotiations and mediation depend on how inclined both parties are to settle.

In some cases, a survivor might be suing an institution. In that case, the defendant might want to resolve the lawsuit quickly. For example, say a plaintiff has brought a sexual abuse lawsuit against a university. In that case, the university might opt to settle quickly to avoid publicity from the lawsuit. However, sometimes individual offenders might be less inclined to settle. If either party doesn’t want to settle, a case can go to court. Coming to that point can take months.

Another reason settling a sexual abuse case can take a long time is because both parties cannot agree on a settlement amount. In most cases, the defendant’s lawyer will try to negotiate a smaller settlement on behalf of their client. Agreeing on damages can take a while. If a plaintiff sues an individual rather than an institution, the defendant might not be financially able to pay the appropriate settlement amount. Their defense lawyer might delay settling to lessen the cost for their client.

Throughout the settlement process, it’s important to have a trusted attorney in your corner. The experienced team of sexual abuse lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin can fight to get you the justice you deserve during settlement discussions.

Why Might You Settle a Sexual Abuse Case?

Whether or not you choose to settle a sexual abuse case is up to you. While your attorney will give you legal advice, you can agree to settle or decide to go to court. You know yourself best. As a survivor of sexual abuse, it’s your call.

Some defendants might be more inclined to settle than others. If a plaintiff wants to settle, but a defendant disagrees, the case might go to court. It’s best to be prepared for that to happen when you file a sexual abuse lawsuit.

Settling is a win for a plaintiff. It means that the defendant has accepted responsibility for their actions and agreed to pay damages. Settling has other benefits for plaintiffs as well.


Choosing to settle offers survivors more control. If your case goes to court, you and your attorney will have less control over the outcome. However, engaging in settlement discussions indicates that a defendant understands that they are to blame for the harm they caused you. When that happens, survivors have more control over the environment and the final outcome.

When you settle out of court, you can determine your level of involvement. For some survivors, it might be overwhelming to relive their trauma in a courtroom. Settling allows plaintiffs to decide not to testify and discuss the events in court. Because settlement discussions are less formal than court proceedings, you can take more frequent breaks and speak more freely as well. That can be appealing to plaintiffs seeking damages for sexual abuse.


If a civil case goes to court, there’s no telling how long the process will take. While settlement discussions can take several months, it might be years before a judge even hears your case. Survivors might be more inclined to quicken the litigation process, as facing an abuser can be traumatizing. Choosing to settle can speed up your lawsuit.

Cons of Settling a Sexual Abuse Case

That being said, settling isn’t necessary for survivors of sexual assault. While settling can quicken the litigation process and could be easier for some survivors, other plaintiffs might want to go to court. A trial allows survivors to publicly speak out against an abuser, which can be healing and empowering.

You know yourself and what route will be the best for you. The team of sexual abuse attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin can support you through the process, whether you chose to settle or not.

If You’ve Been Sexually Abused, Our Attorneys Can Help

Filing charges against an abuser can be difficult for survivors. That’s why enlisting the services of an experienced sexual abuse victim attorney can help. For a free, confidential consultation, call (814) 826-3586 today.


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