Can I bring a lawsuit if I was abused many years ago?

  • girl that had sexual abuseThis question is difficult to answer and it depends on a number of factors. Generally, states have a statute of limitations which requires injured people to file a lawsuit within a specified period of time. Whether or not a sexual abuse victim can file a lawsuit depends on (1) the language of the applicable state or federal laws, (2) the age of the victim at the time of the abuse, (3) the type of abuse that occurred, and (4) whether the victim was abused over an extended period of time. Some states have passed specific laws that extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims who meet certain criteria. If you were sexually abused you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Can I bring a lawsuit even if I do not remember the exact dates and times that I was abused?

  • If you have been sexually abused you should talk to a lawyer even if you cannot remember the exact dates and times that you were abused. It is always better if you can provide specific details about your injuries but you can still prove your case even if you do not remember the exact date or time of an incident. An attorney can work with you to organize your case and help you gather the most accurate information regarding your injuries.

Can I bring a sexual abuse lawsuit even if the defendant was not convicted as a criminal?

  • sexual abused boyYou can file a sexual abuse lawsuit even if the defendant was not convicted as a criminal. In fact, you can still bring a lawsuit even if the defendant was tried as a criminal and the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty.” Civil cases have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases which means that the victim does not necessarily need as much evidence to be successful at trial. For example, the jury may return a verdict for the victim based solely on the victim’s testimony.

Who can I sue for my injuries?

  • Victims can always sue their abusers but it is important to realize that there are a number of other people or organizations that can also be sued. In the past victims have sued businesses, churches (denominations), day cares, government agencies (foster care, branches of the military, schools, etc.), service groups (Boy Scouts) and a number of other groups.

Can I recover damages from a small church?

  • Most churches, denominations, and religious organizations have liability insurance to cover the cost of lawsuits. This is an important fact to remember because many people are concerned about suing the church where their family members, friends and neighbors attend.

Can I recover from a church that is not associated with a specific denomination?

  • girl suffered sexual abuseIn some cases, victims will report sexual abuse or file a lawsuit against a church or religious organization that is “independent” or not associated with a specific denomination. These churches may claim that they are not officially organized or do not have an established hierarchy or structure, therefore they not at fault for the actions of a church member. The structure of a church is only one factor to consider and a lawyer will be able to give you accurate advice on this issue.

What should I do if my parents do not want to sue the church?

  • If your parents are unwilling to help you seek justice, you may still be able to sue the church. Another family member may be able to file a lawsuit on your behalf or the court may appoint a representative for you. If you want to seek justice for your injuries, then you should talk to a personal injury lawyer.

What should I do if an insurance company contacts me?

  • If an insurance company contacts you about settling a sexual abuse claim, you should contact a lawyer before providing them with any information or reaching any agreements. Never sign anything an insurance company sends you without talking to a lawyer. A lawyer will be able to assess the amount of money you are entitled to receive and will make sure that the insurance company pays you the money you deserve.