February 10th, 2013

Resolving a Civil Sex Abuse Lawsuit

Many victims of sex abuse who are contemplating filing a civil lawsuit want to know more about the process and how the case will be resolved. For many victims, filing a a civil sex abuse lawsuit is a big step on the road to justice. It is not an easy decision to make. Being informed about the civil justice process and what the outcome can be very helpful in making the right decision.

Here are four of the most common outcomes of a civil sex abuse lawsuit:

1. Forcing the abuser to answer to the victim, and ultimately a judge/jury.

Sex abusers and pedophiles are emboldened by the silence of their victims. This is what perpetuates the cycle of abuse and eventually, abuse of others. For many victims, simply saying the words out loud can be healing. Filing a civil lawsuit, which becomes part of a public record can be also be healing. When filing civil lawsuits, victims can use their initials to maintain some level of privacy, but the defendant-abuser must be publicly named. During the course of the case, the defendant will have to answer questions at a deposition about the abuse. A deposition produces a deposition transcript, which is a permanent record. In addition, the case will ultimately be resolved, whether by trial or other resolution like a settlement. The defendant may be forced to answer for his or her acts to a judge or jury. Terms of a settlement agreement may include a requirement that the defendant issue a public apology.

2. Preventing future abuse.

Again, abusers rely on their victims’ silence. However, the more public such cases become, the more likely abusers will realize that abuse will not go unreported. Filing a civil and/or criminal case sends a very clear message, not only to the abuser, but to other abusers.

3. Terms of settlement can effect real change within an institution.

In cases where an institution like a youth organization, school or church negligently allowed abuse to continue, a civil lawsuit can result in changes in policy and procedure at the institution. For instance, as part of a settlement, a school may agree to conduct bi-annual sex abuse training of all employees and/or students. This is one of the very positive, lasting results which can be achieved with a civil sex abuse lawsuit. In addition, the institution may agree to issue a public apology.

4. Financial compensation.

This is of course, the last thing on any sex abuse victim’s mind. However, this is the only way the civil justice system operates. The civil justice system is designed to assign a dollar value in order to right a wrong. Contractual disputes result in a monetary award, injury and accident cases do as well. Victims of sex abuse may also receive just financial compensation for the abuse. For institutions which negligently allowed sex abuse to occur, a commercial liability/negligence insurance policy may apply. This is where financial compensation may come from, or financial compensation may come from a defendant-abuser’s own pocket.

It is important to note that it is possible that a civil case could prove fruitless. It is always a possibility that a judge or jury may find in favor of the defendant. Each case is unique and presents its own set of challenges. The decision to file a civil lawsuit should only be made after speaking about the case with a sex abuse lawyer.

More Sex Abuse Legal Articles:

Sex Abuse Lawyer in Pennsylvania & New Jersey CALL Click To Call

Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan handles sex abuse cases in the Northeast area with offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Attorneys at the firm are licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, contact Guy D’Andrea, a Pennsylvania and New Jersey sex abuse lawyer and former sex crimes unit prosecutor.

The firm has the resources and experience to handle school sex abuse cases in all states and welcomes calls from local counsel about potential cases. Click To Call

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.