Tampa Sex Abuse Attorney
If you’ve been sexually abused or sexually assaulted, then you may be feeling overwhelmed by the ordeal and its consequences physically and emotionally. It’s important to know that you have allies. Here at the Florida Law Group, our attorneys are standing by to help you get the justice that you deserve.
Sex abuse and assault victims need not resign themselves to their circumstances. The defendant (or defendants) who harmed you may not only be held criminally liable for their actions, but they may also be sued pursuant to a civil lawsuit.
In the wake of a sex abuse or assault incident, a victim may experience significant losses, from physical injuries to psychological damage, as well as negative effects on the victim’s career, social and personal lives. A civil lawsuit can empower victims to obtain adequate compensation for those losses.
Let’s take a quick look at the basics of how a civil sex abuse and assault claim works.
Sex Abuse and Assault: The Basics
In Florida, there is not an exclusive cause of action for sex abuse or assault. Instead, sex abuse and assault disputes may involve causes of action that are relevant to the circumstances.
For example, if you were held against your will by the defendant, then you could bring a claim on the basis of false imprisonment. Alternatively, if you were touched without your consent, then you could bring a claim on the basis of battery, or if you were threatened, then you could bring a claim on the basis of assault.
Importantly, there may be liable third-parties, too. If you were sexually assaulted outside of a store due to a lack of security presence, then you might have a legitimate claim for damages against the store owner for failure to provide adequate security.
Punitive Damages May Be Available
Punitive damages are “bonus” damages that are awarded by the court in cases where the defendant has acted willfully, egregiously, and/or maliciously in causing harm to the injured plaintiff. They are intended to punish the defendant and to discourage others from the same or similar courses of conduct.
Though courts in Florida and elsewhere tend to be cautious about awarding punitive damages, sex abuse and assault scenarios may be sufficiently egregious to give the court good reason to do so. The prospect of punitive damages can be quite advantageous for your claim, as it gives you additional leverage during early negotiations so that you can secure a favorable settlement without having to go through the emotional challenges, frustration, and uncertainty of trial litigation.
Criminal Litigation Will Not Undermine Your Civil Lawsuit
Many victims of sex abuse and assault worry that the outcome of criminal litigation against the offender will influence and possibly undermine their civil claims. For example, if an offender avoided criminal liability for the sex abuse they perpetrated against the victim, the victim may be concerned that their civil lawsuit will fail.
This is not the case, however. The outcome of criminal litigation will not impact your civil lawsuit in a negative manner. It’s important to note that criminal litigation involves a higher burden of proof known as the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. Beyond a reasonable doubt has often been described as 99 percent certainty that the defendant has committed the crime at-issue. By contrast, civil lawsuits use a standard of proof known as “preponderance of the evidence,” which has often been described as 51 percent certainty that the defendant is liable.
Given the stricter standard that defendants are held to in the criminal context, it’s entirely possible for a defendant to “get away” with the crime but to lose their civil case, and to therefore be held liable to the victim directly for damages.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Sex Abuse Lawyer at the Florida Law Group
Sex abuse and assault victims are forced to shoulder quite a bit of responsibility in the wake of an incident. Victims must make efforts to obtain the medical and psychological assistance necessary to make a full recovery. Further, they must consult an attorney for guidance on how they can secure damages to compensate them for the losses they suffered as a result of the defendant’s actions.
At the Florida Law Group, we understand the sensitive and difficult situation that you may find yourself in after a sex abuse or assault scenario. We put our clients first, and that means more than just being attentive and providing personalized legal services. Our attorneys are deeply committed to making sure that our clients obtain all the social, public, psychological, medical, and legal assistance they need to make a healthy recovery. We see our clients as collaborative partners, and we assign a team (headed by one of our attorneys) to guide them through every stage of the dispute process. The team is willing and able to offer a helping hand whenever necessary.
Sex abuse and assault victims often have questions or concerns about the impending litigation. We encourage our clients to communicate their worries to us. Our attorneys are more than happy to answer any questions you may have, and to explain any aspect of the dispute that you may find confusing.
If you are ready to speak to a Tampa sex abuse lawyer about your claims, please call us at 813-463-8880 or send us an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.