Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Parents trust schools and teachers to keep their kids safe. Unfortunately, children are hurt every year from sexual abuse perpetrated at their schools, sometimes by school officials.
The parties involved may face criminal charges, but you can still file a civil lawsuit to get financial compensation for your child’s grievous injuries. Statutes of limitations are sometimes problematic in school sex abuse cases because children often do not report the abuse for some time. Suing a public school is trickier because suing a government entity comes with additional legal hurdles. You can sue the people who contributed to the abuse and the school if it knew of the abuse and failed to intervene. It is important to consider medical bills for treating your child’s injuries. However, perhaps the most significant source of damages will be your child’s physical and emotional pain and suffering.
Sexual abuse at school is a massive injustice, and your child deserves justice. Our Maryland attorneys for sexual abuse victims at school are here to help your family through this difficult period. For a free case review, call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586.
Lawsuits for Damages Related to Sexual Abuse at School in Maryland
Sexual abuse is an incredibly difficult thing to go through. Not only are victims physically and emotionally violated, but justice can be hard to secure after the abuse is reported. Sex abuse cases are particularly challenging when the abuse happens at school. Sex abuse in schools has occurred in public and private institutions, and children of all ages have been affected. Although people know that sex abuse cases are criminal matters, victims can file civil lawsuits to recover compensation for their significant damages.
While you can certainly sue for your damages related to sexual abuse at school, there may be various roadblocks and hurdles in your way. Our Maryland attorneys for sexual abuse victims at school can help you identify and clear these hurdles to get the compensation you deserve.
When You Can Sue for Sexual Abuse at School in Maryland
First, we must consider the ordinary statute of limitations. Second, we must consider how the statute of limitation applies in a sexual abuse case, as the timelines might differ. Call our Maryland attorneys for sexual abuse victims at school for help beginning your case.
The normal statute of limitations for personal injury cases can be found under Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 5-101, and states that civil lawsuits must be filed within 3 years of the date it accrued (i.e., the date of the sexual abuse) unless a different statute says otherwise.
Another statute provides additional rules specifically for cases involving sexual abuse. According to Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 5-117(b), a case filed for sexual abuse that occurred when the victim was a minor may be filed any time before the victim turns 18. It can also be filed up to 20 years after the date the victim turns 18 or 3 years after the defendant is convicted of a crime related to the abuse, whichever is later. This makes it possible to sue in cases of abuse that were not reported for many years because victims were afraid to come forward.
You must also consider how long you have to sue people who might not have directly caused the abuse but knew about it and did nothing to stop it. For example, if you believe the school or school administrator knew your child was being abused and did nothing to intervene, you can include them in your lawsuit.
According to Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 5-117(c), you must bring your legal action no more than 7 years after the victim turns 18. The defendant should be a person or entity (e.g., administrators and schools) who owed a duty of care to your child and employed the abuser or had some responsibility over the abuser, and there is a finding of gross negligence on the defendant’s part.
Who is Liable for Sexual Abuse at School in Maryland?
Identifying all possible defendants in a sexual abuse case can be difficult. It is not unusual for victims to not remember every abuser, or they might be afraid to report all the abusers out of fear. Even if we can identify one person, there might be little to no details about other possible abusers.
Typically, you can sue the person or people who contributed to the abuse. This often includes multiple people., although there are many cases of abuse where there is only one abuser. Of course, you can sue the people who directly abused your child, but there might be others. For example, if a teacher abused your child while a school administrator covered up the crime, the administrator may also be held liable.
You might be able to sue the entire school or school district. To do so, we must show that the school or district knew about the abuse and failed to intervene. In especially severe cases, schools sometimes take steps to cover up the abuse, making it difficult to gather evidence. Even so, our Maryland lawyers for sexual abuse victims at school can help you get justice.
Suing a Public School for Sexual Abuse in Maryland
Suing a public school may be tricky, as we must abide by the Maryland Tort Claims Act. According to this Act, plaintiffs must submit a written claim to the state treasurer within 1 year of the sex abuse, the treasurer must deny the claim, and a subsequent lawsuit must be commenced within 3 years of the abuse. Our Maryland attorneys for sexual abuse victims at school can help you begin the claims process.
However, we may get around this rule if certain conditions are present. If we cannot submit a claim to the treasurer for good cause, the court might still hear the case unless the state proves its defense to the allegations is compromised or prejudiced because we failed to submit the claim. This might be the case if we discover the abuse after the 1-year deadline to submit a claim to the treasurer has passed.
Assessing Damages in Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse at School in Maryland
If your child was physically injured from the abuse, we can claim their medical expenses as part of the damages. The cost of medical care is notoriously high, and we must keep thorough records of all medical treatment received by your child. Speak with our Maryland attorneys for victims of sexual abuse at school for help calculating damages.
Many of the damages in your case will stem from your child’s physical and emotional pain and suffering. Sexual abuse often leaves victims with great physical pain and long-lasting emotional scars. Many victims report coping with the emotional fallout from abuse for years, often well into their adult lives. Your child deserves the maximum compensation possible for the abuse they have endured.
Under the Maryland Tort Claims Act mentioned above, there are caps on how much compensation may be paid by the state in civil cases. The state’s liability to a single claimant for a single act or occurrence is typically limited to $400,000. If the acts in question were intentional – as sexual abuse often is – the limit is increased to $890,000. Keep in mind that these limits apply only to public schools because they are considered government entities. Lawsuits against private or parochial schools are not bound by such restrictions.
Call Our Maryland Attorneys for Sexual Abuse Victims at School for Help Now
Our Maryland lawyers for sexual abuse victims at school are here to help you get justice for the pain and trauma your child has been through. For a free case evaluation, call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586.