Whatever the nature of a sexual assault or prolonged sexual abuse, it is common for survivors to feel shame and guilt, even though they are blameless. Sexual assaults can leave emotional trauma and perhaps even physical injuries that can affect victims for the rest of their lives. It is important that victims seek legal support and do not take on the system alone.
Furthermore, if you are wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct, then you will need representation from a defense attorney.
Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience dealing with sexual abuse cases in Clearwater and throughout Florida. If you have been the victim of sexual assault, then you need a lawyer who is sensitive to the personal nature of your case and can provide compassion and support to seek justice for your suffering.
Sexual Abuse Statistics
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), sexual violence has halved in the last 20 years. That is great news, but there is still a long way to go, and sexual assault is still far too common.
Each year, more than 430,000 Americans are victims of special violence; of these, almost 60,000 are children, and over 80,000 are inmates. This equates to an American being sexually assaulted once every 73 seconds, and one in six women will suffer a sexual assault in their lifetime.
These statistics are shocking, and yet, many crimes go unreported. Therefore, the numbers are likely higher, especially sexual abuse against men.
The statistics in Florida alone are shocking. According to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (of sexual offenses that have been reported):
- 1,266,000 women in Florida have suffered rape, that’s 17% or 1 in 6 women.
- 3,111,000, or 41.8% of women have suffered sexual violence other than rape.
- 1,437,000 men or 20.4% of men in Florida have been reported being the victim of sexual violence.
Sexual Abuse Proceedings in Clearwater: Civil vs. Criminal
In a criminal case, the victim may have to testify, which can be a traumatic experience. Furthermore, whilst a criminal conviction punishes the offenders and protest others, it does little to compensate the victim for their suffering.
In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant committed the sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt. Evidence for a criminal case could include medical records, testimony from law enforcement, and witness statements.
If a prosecutor is successful—or if the defendant pleads guilty—the defendant will be convicted of the crime and will be sentenced. Penalties can include imprisonment, fines, probation, and registering as a Florida sex offender.
However, you will not be compensated as the victim, even if you have suffered financially as a result. Unfortunately, in addition to participating in the criminal case, survivors must also file a case in civil court in order to claim compensation.
A civil case can be brought against the perpetrator of sexual violence as well as a criminal case. The civil case focuses on the victim’s financial losses, such as loss of earnings and medical bills as well as non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages include mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment if the victim has been left unable to do something that they did before. For example, a survivor of sexual abuse may be afraid to go to certain places or may find it hard to be intimate with people.
While nothing can erase a traumatic event like sexual abuse, financial compensation can help survivors by covering their expenses and helping them to feel a sense of justice. Such compensation is only available through the civil court system. An experienced sexual abuse attorney will be able to help you to fight for the compensation that you deserve.
In a civil case, the burden of proof is lower than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” therefore, your civil case may be easier to prove. In addition, you can use a defendant’s conviction as evidence in your civil case.
Our experienced sexual abuse attorneys will tackle every step of the civil personal injury process so that you can focus on your recovery.
Sexual abuse is extremely traumatic and affects people for their entire lives. In addition to severe emotional trauma, in some situations, survivors are also left dealing with physical injuries.
Injuries that can result from sexual abuse include:
- Abrasions or lacerations.
- Unwanted pregnancies.
- Sexually-transmitted diseases.
- Injuries from restraints used.
- Injuries from the force used to perpetrate the assault.
- Depression and/or Anxiety.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This list is not exclusive. If you have suffered any sort of abuse, then you should contact a Clearwater sexual abuse lawyer who will be able to advise you on whether you could be entitled to compensation.
Losses as a Result of Sexual Abuse in Clearwater, FL
The after-effects of sexual abuse often serve to add to the trauma already suffered. Victims of abuse do not have to suffer in silence. Seek a free consultation with The Law Place, and we, an experienced abuse lawyer, will offer advice as to how to fight for your right to compensation a civil personal injury claim. A Clearwater sexual abuse lawyer will help you to seek compensation for things such as:
- Medical bills for emergency treatment and ongoing treatment.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Expenses for psychological or psychiatric treatment.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Lost wages.
- Costs for terminating a pregnancy.
- Costs of pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption.
Victims of sexual abuse can also claim punitive damages, which are reserved for victims of highly egregious acts—and sexual assault certainly qualifies.
Your sexual abuse lawyer will identify all possible damages to which the law entitles you to so that they can help you to fight for maximum compensation in Clearwater, FL.
Your Rights as a Sexual Abuse Survivor in Clearwater, Florida
There is no specific civil legal action for “sexual assault” in the United States. However, your personal injury lawyer will determine how to take legal action based on the circumstances of your case. Your lawyer in Clearwater, Florida, may consider taking civil action in the form of:
- Assault and battery.
- False imprisonment.
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Third-Party Claims in Clearwater, FL
You may also have the right to seek compensation from a third party in Clearwater who could have a degree of legal responsibility for the assault.
For example, if the sexual abuse occurred in a hospital, school, hotel, or business that should have had security to prevent harm coming to you, then you may be able to seek damages from that organization. Another example is if someone suffered sexual abuse at work, then the employer may be liable if they failed to frequently screen staff or supervise workers.
Identifying any liable third parties can have a big impact on the amount of compensation you could receive in Clearwater. The perpetrator may not have sufficient assets to provide you with the compensation you deserved, especially if they are now in prison and, therefore, unable to work. On the other hand, a company should have assets or insurance coverage.
While money cannot take away the trauma, it will help with the financial stress that may have been caused by loss of earnings or medical bills. Furthermore, you may be able to seek professional help for your emotional anguish with the compensation you claim. By holding the assailant accountable and standing against them, you may feel that you have some much-needed closure.
Let a Clearwater Sexual Abuse Lawyer Fight for Your Legal Rights
If you are looking to seek compensation for sexual abuse in Clearwater, FL, you should contact a skilled personal injury lawyer from a reputable law firm like The Law Place.
We offer a free consultation with no strings attached. During this call, we will give you honest, unbiased advice on what we think your next steps should be. We understand the sensitivity of these matters; there are no expectations or pressure from us if you do not wish to continue your sexual abuse claim. Our free consultation is designed so that you can receive information from an experienced personal injury lawyer before you make any decisions.
If you decide you would like to proceed with representation from our law firm, we will assign you a lawyer who is experienced in sexual abuse claims in Florida. Your lawyer will explain our fee structure and ask some more in-depth questions about the incident in question. We work on a contingency basis, which means that our pay is taken as a percentage of your settlement.
We will then give you some time, and if you decide to continue, we will get you to sign on the dotted line, agreeing to let us represent you. From this point onwards, we will take over the investigations of your Clearwater sexual abuse claim and will act as your advocate, fighting for your right to compensation. This means that you can focus on your recovery, in the knowledge that action is being taken against the perpetrator.
Contact an Attorney at The Law Place Today!
Sexual abuse victims should not suffer in silence; they deserve justice. The practice areas for our law firm include Clearwater and other parts of Florida, including Tampa and Sarasota.
Contact The Law Place today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation and secure representation from an experienced Clearwater sexual abuse attorney.