What Is the Timeline for a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

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Filing a sexual abuse lawsuit can be very intimidating for survivors. Because of that, it can ease your worries to know what to expect from the general timeline. So, what is involved in the timeline for a sexual abuse lawsuit?

The timeline for sexual abuse lawsuit can be lengthy. It includes hiring an attorney, building a case, filing a lawsuit, and engaging in discovery. From there, you may choose to go to trial or settle a lawsuit out of court. After a lawsuit concludes in a survivors’ favor, they can collect compensatory damages. Each stage in the timeline has its own steps for which sexual abuse survivors should be prepared. All in all, these types of lawsuits can take months or even years to complete.

The Law Office of Andrew Shubin is dedicated to supporting survivors. Our team of experienced attorneys can help you navigate a sexual abuse lawsuit and get the justice you deserve. For a free case evaluation from the compassionate sexual abuse victim lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, call us today at (814) 826-3586.

The Basic Timeline for a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

When it comes to sexual abuse lawsuits, there’s a greater timeline and more specific timelines within each step. When you’re considering filing a sexual abuse lawsuit, it’s helpful to understand the basic timeline first so you know what to expect.

Filing a sexual abuse lawsuit can be a lengthy process, even in the most cut-and-dry cases. The following is the general timeline for a sexual abuse lawsuit:

  • Hire an attorney
  • Build a case
  • File a lawsuit
  • Engage in discovery
  • Engage in settlement discussions and/or go to trial
  • Collect damages

That being said, each stage in this basic timeline can have its own components that you need to be aware of. Skilled sexual abuse victim lawyers can help survivors prepare for each stage in a civil lawsuit against an abuser.

All in all, a sexual abuse lawsuit can take several months or even years to complete. Understanding each stage as they come can help sexual abuse victims emotionally and mentally ready themselves for the litigation process.

When to Hire an Attorney for a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Although hiring an attorney is a crucial step in the overall timeline for a sexual abuse lawsuit, this stage has its own timeline as well. Before you hire an attorney to represent your interests in a sexual abuse lawsuit, there are a few things you must do.

Your first step in hiring a lawyer is to be ready. Dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse can be overwhelming for all survivors. You should wait until you feel ready to potentially file a lawsuit against an abuser or discuss your abuse with a lawyer. No one but you can decide whether or not you’re prepared for this step.

Before you begin consulting with attorneys, it can benefit you to collect any evidence or documentation that supports your claim. Survivors can feel more confident going into a consultation with an attorney with proof of their abuse. However, if you cannot compile evidence on your own, do not let that dissuade you from meeting with attorneys and explaining your experience.

The next stage in the timeline is to consult with sexual abuse victim lawyers. Survivors can take their time with this step, as it’s important to hire an attorney that they feel comfortable with. Feel free to ask as many questions as you might have when consulting with an attorney. The right sexual abuse victim lawyer should welcome your interest and approach your consultation with compassion and care.

Once you find a legal team you feel you can trust, you can enlist them to help you file a lawsuit. The timeline for hiring an attorney can be short or long, depending on how long it takes for you to find a sexual abuse victim lawyer that you can rely on. While consulting with numerous attorneys can feel overwhelming and time-consuming, it will be worth it when you find the right lawyer to represent your interests in a sexual abuse lawsuit.

Timeline for Building a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

After you hire an attorney, it’s time to build your case. The timeline for preparing a strong case against a defendant can be lengthy, so it is important for victims to be prepared and understand what it involves.

Building a case can take several months, which is not necessarily a bad thing. That is because your lawyer will likely do their best to compile as much evidence as possible before you file a lawsuit, so you feel confident pursuing litigation. Because of the often short statute of limitations for adult sexual abuse survivors, it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as you can. That way, you give your lawyer ample time to build a case before filing a lawsuit.

When your legal team begins to build a sexual abuse lawsuit, you can help. Any proof or documentation that you have that demonstrates an abuser’s actions can benefit your sexual abuse victim lawyer during this process. Your attorney will then complete a thorough investigation into your claims to find corroborating evidence or witnesses. Again, this process can take several months to complete. However, time will allow your attorney to build a strong case against your abuser, so you have a greater chance of getting justice through a sexual abuse lawsuit.

When to File a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

When it comes to actually filing a sexual abuse lawsuit, you may wonder what that process looks like. The timeline for this step will largely depend on the state you live in and its statute of limitations.

The timeline for filing a sexual abuse lawsuit mostly comes down to the statute of limitations. Each state has its own statute of limitations regarding sexual abuse lawsuits for minors and adults. That being said, some states do not have special statutes, meaning victims must abide by the filing deadline for regular personal injury claims. When filing a sexual abuse lawsuit, your timeline is determined by the statute of limitations in your state. For adult sexual abuse survivors, that timeline is usually only a few years.

The first step in filing a sexual abuse lawsuit is filing a petition with the court. This document will contain all important information, including your personal details and a defendant’s. A petition will name the defendant in the sexual abuse lawsuit and explains why you as a plaintiff deserve compensatory damages.

After you and your sexual abuse victim lawyer complete a petition, your lawyer will submit it to the proper location. Then, you have begun the litigation process, and the defendant will receive notice of your lawsuit.

The Discovery Phase in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

After you file a lawsuit, the next phase in the litigation process is discovery. This is the time when your attorneys can request information from a defendant’s legal counsel and vice versa. Depending on the amount of discovery, this stage can vary in length

The timeline for the discovery phase can vary on a case-by-case basis. After filing a petition, your sexual abuse victim lawyer can request any pertinent information from a defendant’s counsel. Once requested, a defendant’s attorneys must provide it in a timely fashion. This includes any evidence a defendant claims to have and their version of events. The following are some pieces of information your attorney can obtain during the discovery phase:

  • Subpoenas
  • Depositions
  • Request for production of documents
  • Request for admission

Sexual abuse survivors need to know that a defendant’s attorneys can also retrieve information during the discovery phase. This is a two-way street, so survivors should be prepared for uncomfortable and potentially triggering moments during the discovery phase. Having a compassionate sexual abuse victim lawyer in your corner can help you, especially if you’re feeling vulnerable or scared at any moment. The discovery phase is an opportunity for your lawyer to learn more about a defendant’s actions and character, so it’s an important stage.

The discovery phase is often one of the longest periods in a sexual abuse lawsuit. Your attorney will take time to process information and find ways to use it in a potential trial, and the defendant’s attorney will try to do the same. Be prepared for the discovery phase to take several months, as it is one of the most important aspects of any sexual abuse lawsuit.

What Is the Timeline for Trial in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

After discovery comes an important choice: do you want to go to trial or settle? Going to trial can seem like a win in and of itself for sexual abuse survivors, as they get to name their abuser publicly. Depending on the available evidence and results from discovery, your attorney may advise you to go to trial. Understanding the timeline for a sexual abuse trial is essential, as it is often the most meaningful step for survivors.

The first step in a sexual abuse trial is each side presenting their evidence and arguments to the court. But before that happens, your lawsuit has to reach a court docket. Depending on the number of cases awaiting trial in your area, you may experience a significant delay. It can take many months before a sexual abuse lawsuit reaches a courtroom for a trial. However, sexual abuse survivors must know that that won’t impact the statute of limitations. The moment you file a sexual abuse lawsuit against an abuser, you no longer have to worry about filing deadlines.

During a trial, you may be asked to testify. Sexual abuse lawsuits often require survivors to attest to a defendant’s actions. A compassionate sexual abuse victim lawyer, like those at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, can prepare you to testify and support you through the process.

After both your lawyer and a defendant’s attorney have presented their arguments and evidence, a judge or jury will decide. Depending on the decision reached, a defendant may choose to file an appeal.

The entire timeline for the trial process can range from months to years, depending on the available evidence. Because of this, some sexual abuse survivors decide to forego a trial and engage in settlement discussions. To do this, both parties have to agree.

When Do Settlement Discussions Take Place in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

Sometimes, when the evidence is overwhelming and a defendant does not want to publicly go forward with a trial, they may suggest settling. When this happens, sexual abuse survivors are essentially guaranteed some amount in compensatory damages. Understanding the timeline for settlement discussions in a sexual abuse lawsuit is crucial for survivors.

A defendant will likely make the first step in offering to settle. That’s because the defendant is often the party that initially wants a settlement lower than your initial claim. Then, your attorney will come back with a counteroffer. The first settlement offer from a defendant’s legal counsel rarely reflects the amount in damages a sexual abuse survivor actually deserves.

The back and forth between lawyers discussing appropriate settlement amounts can take months. If you cannot reach an agreement, your lawyers may suggest you forego any additional discussions and proceed with a trial. Depending on your case, the timeline for settlement discussion may be weeks or even years.

How Long Does It Take to Receive Damages in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

After you’ve reached a settlement or a trial has ended in your favor, how long until you receive compensatory damages? For survivors seeking compensation, it is important to know the timeline for actually recovering damages in a sexual abuse lawsuit.

Generally, there are two types of settlements. The first is a structured settlement. Plaintiffs will receive payments over time if this is the settlement agreed upon in a sexual abuse lawsuit. The second settlement type is called a lump sum settlement. With this settlement type, defendants must pay the entire settlement amount to a survivor at one time.

Clearly, each settlement type has a different timeline. Which one applies to your case will largely depend on an abuser’s financial situation. If they cannot pay a lump sum settlement, they may have to pay the agreed-upon amount over the course of several years. All in all, from hiring an attorney to receiving compensatory damages, your sexual abuse lawsuit may take months or years to complete.

Call Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers Today

If you plan to file a lawsuit against a sexual abuser, our attorneys are here to help. Survivors can call the sexual abuse victim lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today at (814) 826-3586.


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