In California’s capital city, there are many different personal injury lawyers available to help plaintiffs who are seeking to file civil lawsuits. Finding the right Sacramento sexual abuse and assault lawyer can prove complicated, as many of these legal firms do not handle cases of this magnitude. Sexual abuse and assault cases are a delicate type of case, requiring a distinct level of expertise.
Sexual abuse is defined as sexual acts that are committed against vulnerable populations of people. Vulnerable populations are considered to be people who cannot make the determination on their own that they consent to the act. People who fall into this category are children, the elderly, and those who suffer from certain disabilities.
Sexual assault is defined as sexual acts that are not consensual between two adults. These could be forced or not, but in most circumstances, they are unwanted. Rape is an example of sexual assault. These sexual actions can also include fondling, touching, and penetration – all of which are especially egregious.
Statistically, one in two women has experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives. One in five men has experienced this violence. Unfortunately, across the country, many of these offenders go without being prosecuted for their crimes.
Why Victims Don’t Come Forward
Given the severity of these crimes, you would think that more victims would come forward to seek justice for the trauma they have experienced. This is not the case, and in many circumstances, the victims do not come forward. Why don’t more of these victims come forward against their perpetrators?
- Acts of sexual abuse and assault are often traumatic experiences for the victim. Many experience periods of shock and denial over the entire situation. Once they delay seeking help for the abuse or assault, they think that they cannot report it, so they don’t.
- In some situations, the perpetrator is someone that the victim knows or sees regularly. There may be an intense fear that retaliation will occur if they report the perpetrator for the crime.
- Besides fear, there may be feelings of guilt that dwell within the victim. The perpetrator may have placed it in the head of the victim that no one will believe them or that they brought it upon themselves. The head games may be so intense that the victim feels as though they really wanted it, confusing them about the entire situation.
- One of the biggest misconceptions that victims in these situations have is that they will be questioned as if they are guilty of the crime that was committed against them. The job of the law enforcement officers who take the statement and create the report of the abuse or assault do not set out to make the victim feel uncomfortable. Advocates or an individual that the victim trusts can be present for any of the processes that go along with reporting the crime. The victim also has the right to stop the questions if they feel uncomfortable.
The same level of support is given to victims by legal professionals handling their case – criminal or civil. Both types of lawsuits can be filed in a sexual abuse and assault case.
The outcome of a criminal case does not determine the outcome of a civil case. In criminal cases, it is required that proof is provided beyond the benefit of the doubt that the perpetrator is guilty. Civil cases only require that the preponderance of guilt be proven. Did the actions of the liable party cause the injuries that created the financial situation for the victim? Even though the criminal case outcome doesn’t determine the verdict of a civil case, a positive outcome for the victim can enhance how the civil case goes.
Victims need to understand that even if the criminal case outcome does not go as originally anticipated, that does not mean that the civil outcome will go the same way. In some instances, the victims who seek out civil cases may only get closure this way because the evidence was not sufficient enough for the criminal case.
Criminal Charges Versus Civil Claims
In a sexual abuse or assault case, there may be more than just criminal charges filed against a perpetrator or liable party. Criminal charges are handled by the District Attorney in the Sacramento court system when a report is filed, and charges are placed on the perpetrator. These result in verdicts that may include jail time or other punishments.
When filing a civil claim, victims must call a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento who handles these cases. Civil claims are filed to recover monetary damages that have been incurred as a result of sexual abuse or assault. Lawyers who handle sexual abuse and assault cases seek economic and non-economic damages for victims of these crimes.
Economic Damages – Economic damages are quantifiable damages that can be measured. Medical bills, lost wages, and rehabilitative fees are types of economic damages that can be collected on behalf of a client.
Non-Economic Damages – Non-economic damages are not as easy to assign a dollar amount to. These are the amounts that are awarded to victims based on the amount of suffering, pain, and other unquantifiable damages resulting from the crime.
Damages can be collected from any party considered liable in the case. This may not be just the perpetrator of the crime. There are other parties who can be found negligent in an abuse or assault case. For example, the Catholic Church was found liable for the sexual assault of children over the course of decades at the hands of priests across the country. The Catholic dioceses were the ones who were found liable in these situations – not the individual priests.
The Civil Process
The process of presenting a civil lawsuit against the liable party in a sexual abuse and assault case is built by the lawyers representing the victim. The lawyers will work closely with the victim to handle all of the case preparation and paperwork required to begin the process. Legal professionals try to reduce the number of times a victim must relive the traumatic experience. In most circumstances, the same lawyer will follow the entire case from start to finish, reducing the number of people who handle the case for the victim.
A judge will listen to the victim’s testimony to determine if there is enough evidence to move forward to the jury trial. Only then will the victim be required to go before the jury. Many of these cases don’t make it this far. The liable party may plead guilty and offer a settlement amount as a part of the case.
Many settlements start low, so having an experienced personal injury lawyer can help to maximize the amount of damages awarded to a victim. These awards can vary in size, but lawyers do not let their clients end up with less than they deserve.
Why Call on the Expertise of Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyers?
Personal injury lawyers handle a variety of cases every day that result in damages being paid to victims of various crimes, including sexual abuse and assault. These cases require confidentiality, support, and a level of delicacy for the victim. There is no other type of lawyer that can help victims receive the compensation that they require in sexual abuse and assault cases. Only your leading Sacramento personal Injury lawyer can get the compensation clients deserve.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that if they do not win your case, they do not get paid. Many people don’t seek out the help of a personal injury lawyer in sexual abuse or assault cases because they feel like they cannot afford it. Speaking to a legal professional about your case should always be free, and you should not be asked for fees upfront. You need to seek out the Sacramento legal professionals who offer their services on a contingency-based fee.
Sacramento’s Expert Sexual Abuse and Assault Legal Team
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a violent sexual crime in the Sacramento area, you need to call upon the expertise of a personal injury law firm that handles cases pertaining to sexual abuse and assault. TorkLaw is Sacramento’s leading legal team from the first case filings to the settlement or judgment awards.
As one of the legal teams who handle these types of cases, we understand the delicate situation of sexual abuse and assault. Maintaining a comfortable environment for our clients is our first priority in these cases, and we handle the situation with the utmost respect.
TorkLaw offers prospective clients FREE and confidential case consultations through our Sacramento law offices. We offer these consultations over the phone at 888.845.9696 or through our online contact form, which is found on our website. We make our clients feel safe while sharing their stories and help them to pursue the monetary damages that they may be entitled to.
Don’t wait to file your civil claim against the liable party in your sexual abuse or assault case. Call the legal offices of TorkLaw in Sacramento today.