A Lawsuit Must Be Filed Separately From a Criminal Charge In Order To Seek Compensation In Response To Child Sexual Abuse in Spokane, Washington
Child sexual abuse and assault affect thousands of American children each year. Tragically, every nine minutes, a child is a victim of sexual abuse. Most perpetrators are never held accountable—either criminally or civilly—for their wrongdoing. In Washington, non-consensual sexual contact is against the law; there are a variety of sexual abuse and sexual assault crimes recognized by the state. While a person who commits sexual assault should absolutely be prosecuted by a criminal court, a criminal case will not yield any form of monetary compensation for a victim of child sexual abuse.
A sexual abuse victim or their legal representative must bring forth a separate civil action against the alleged perpetrator of such sexual acts to seek monetary compensation for the damages they have suffered. Civil lawsuits are the only means by which you can seek appropriate compensation for such abuse. Our Spokane child sex abuse attorneys at the law firm of Albrecht Law PLLC can help you throughout your case as you pursue a civil lawsuit that would be parallel to any criminal case alleging a sexual act upon a child victim.
Call (509) 495-1246
(509) 495-1246 now to schedule a free consultation with our experienced child sexual abuse attorneys in Spokane, Washington. Our legal team can help you pursue justice in the form of financial compensation for the emotional pain and psychological injuries you may have suffered.
Actions To Take If You or a Loved One Suffered Child Sexual Abuse in the State of Washington
Child sexual abuse is a horrific crime that leaves lasting scars. In the state of Washington, survivors and their loved ones have legal recourse to seek justice and compensation for their suffering. The following are the steps to take and the actions one can pursue in a civil lawsuit:
- Report the Abuse — The first step is to report the abuse to law enforcement and child protective services. This not only starts the criminal investigation but also creates official documentation of the abuse.
- Consult with an Attorney — A skilled attorney experienced in child sexual abuse cases can guide you through the complex legal process. They can help you understand your rights and options, and develop a strategy for your case.
- File a Civil Lawsuit — In addition to any criminal proceedings, survivors can file a civil lawsuit against the abuser and any other parties who may be responsible. For instance, if the abuse occurred on someone else’s property, the property owners may be liable if they were negligent in providing a safe environment.
Contact our experienced Spokane child sexual abuse attorneys at Albrecht Law PLLC today to schedule a free consultation.
Proving a Civil Case for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Spokane, Washington
To win a civil lawsuit for childhood sexual abuse in Washington, the plaintiff and their attorney must prove several elements:
- The defendant committed an act of sexual abuse
- The plaintiff suffered harm due to the act
- The defendant’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing the harm
Possible Damages for Child Sexual Abuse in Washington
Survivors of child sexual abuse may be entitled to various types of economic and noneconomic damages in a civil lawsuit. These can include:
- Medical expenses for past and future treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of earning capacity if the survivor is unable to work or their ability to work is diminished
Statute of Limitations To File a Civil Childhood Sexual Abuse Action in the State of Washington
The state of Washington gives adults over the age of 18 only three years to file a civil childhood sexual abuse action from the time of the act itself or the time the victim realized the abuse caused harm. It is important that you coordinate with a personal injury attorney experienced in cases involving sexual misconduct well before this time limit if you or a loved one have been sexually abused as a child.
Taking legal action can be a daunting task, particularly in cases of child sexual abuse. But remember, you’re not alone. Our experienced legal professionals are here to help you, and in addition to helping you through civil court we can also put you in touch with support organizations that aid sexually-abused victims in navigating the aftermath of child abuse involving sexual conduct.
Options For Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Child Sexual Abuse or Assault in Spokane, Washington
If you or your loved one have been a victim of child sexual abuse, child sexual assault, or another form of assault, you should report the crime to the proper authorities immediately. You may also retain the right to file a civil action, for the purpose of recouping monetary damages, against your loved one’s assailant. In addition to the person who committed the crime against you, you may also be able to file an action against the owner of the property where the incident occurred if you can prove negligent security.
A Sexual Abuse Incident On Another’s Property May Involve Issues of Negligent Security and Premises Liability
Negligent security is a theory of premises liability that holds that a property owner has a duty to provide the degree of security that is reasonable to prevent harm to those who enter the property.
You can successfully bring a premises liability claim against a business or entity where the sexual assault/assault occurred if you can prove that:
- The business has a responsibility to implement a reasonable amount of security
- The business breached this duty by failing to maintain reasonable security
- The sexual abuse or assault would not have occurred but for the lack of reasonable security
The Steps Ahead If You Seek a Civil Lawsuit for Child Sexual Abuse in the State of Washington
Filing a lawsuit for child sexual abuse can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. However, understanding the steps involved in civil cases can provide some clarity and help prepare for what lies ahead. Be aware that the other party may choose to settle at any time. A settlement of your civil claim would prevent the later steps in the process.
The following are the steps of a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for child sexual abuse in the state of Washington:
- Consultation with an Attorney: The first step is to consult with an experienced attorney who is experienced in child sexual abuse cases. They can guide you through the legal process, explain your rights, and evaluate the strength of your case.
- Filing the Lawsuit: Your attorney will prepare a detailed complaint outlining the allegations against the defendant(s) and file it with the court.
- Discovery Process: Both sides gather evidence to support their case. This may include medical records, witness testimonies, and expert reports. During this stage, the victim may have to answer questions under oath, which can be uncomfortable but is a crucial part of building the case.
- Settlement Negotiations: The majority of civil lawsuits are resolved through a settlement before reaching trial. Both sides negotiate an agreement where the defendant pays an agreed amount to the plaintiff in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. If negotiations fail, the case proceeds to trial.
- Trial: If a settlement is not reached, the case goes to trial. The victim may need to testify, which can be difficult, given the sensitive nature of the abuse. However, your attorney will prepare you for this process and ensure your story is heard.
- Verdict: The judge or jury makes a decision based on the evidence presented during the trial. If they rule in favor of the plaintiff, they will determine the amount of compensation for damages.
- Appeal: Either party can appeal the verdict if they believe there was a significant legal error during the trial.
Remember, every childhood sexual abuse case is unique, and the process may vary based on the specific circumstances of the case. A knowledgeable and compassionate attorney is invaluable as you navigate this challenging journey.
Call Our Spokane Sex Abuse and Assault Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved are the victim of child abuse involving sexual misconduct, you need to be compensated. Our lawyers are here to help.
To schedule a free consultation with our Spokane personal injury attorneys and learn more about your rights and how we can assist you, call (509) 495-1246
(509) 495-1246 today or send us a message using our online form. We are here to serve you.
Albrecht Law PLLC — Our Clients Are More Than Just Cases