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Stockton Sexual Abuse Lawyers

Victims of sexual abuse suffer devastating consequences in the aftermath of their abuse. Sexual abuse can inflict serious physical injuries that require medical attention. This abuse can also cause psychological injuries that might never heal—or if they do heal, it might take years of therapy and counseling. Furthermore, victims sometimes have to miss work to attend doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions. This makes it even more difficult to pay for the expensive treatments. Now, on top of dealing with physical and emotional healing, you must also face the uncertainty of financial instability. 

Many sexual abuse victims hesitate to report their abuser because they feel guilt or shame. Many victims feel like they missed the warning signs of sexual abuse and let themselves be victimized. But the truth is that sexual abuse is never your fault.

In California, victims of sexual abuse can sue their abuser in civil court to recover damages for the harm they suffered. If you are a victim of sexual abuse, contact one of our Stockton sexual abuse lawyers at Silva Injury Law today.

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How Can I Prove a Sexual Assault Civil Claim?

Remember, an abuser does not need to face criminal charges before you can file a civil claim for sexual abuse. The burden of proof in a civil case is much lower than the burden of proof in a criminal case. A prosecutor must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest burden in the American judicial system. On the other hand, in a civil case, the plaintiff must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence means that the plaintiff’s claim is more likely true than not true. In other words, a preponderance of the evidence means more than a 50% chance that the allegations are true. 

Thus, even if a prosecutor cannot prove the criminal charges for sexual abuse, that does not mean you will lose a civil case against the same abuser. While a civil lawsuit will not land your abuser behind bars, they can face the financial ramifications of a civil judgment in your favor. 

What Qualifies As Sexual Abuse?

California law differentiates between sexual assault and sexual abuse. Sexual assault is defined as the touching of the intimate part of another person while he or she is restrained by a perpetrator, against the victim’s will, and when it is done for the sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse of the victim. Sexual abuse refers to an ongoing or consistent pattern of sexual assault over a period of time. Any victim of a sex crime can bring a civil lawsuit against their perpetrator. The sex crimes include:

  • Sexual abuse of a child,
  • Groping,
  • Indecent exposure,
  • Sexual battery,
  • Rape,
  • Sexual harassment,
  • Sexual assault by rideshare drivers,
  • Sexual assault by medical providers, or
  • Any act of a sexual nature that was nonconsensual. 

If you are unsure whether you have a valid civil claim for sexual assault, contact Silva Injury Law to speak to one of our Stockton sexual abuse lawyers. 

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Claims?

Most personal injury lawsuits have a two-year statute of limitations. That means after two years have passed, you can no longer sue the party responsible for your injuries. However, California relaxes the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse victims. 

California law permits childhood sexual abuse victims to file a lawsuit until the later of the following dates:

  • The victim’s 40th birthday, or
  • Five years from when the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the sexual assault or abuse caused a psychological injury or illness that emerged after the victim’s 18th birthday.

If the plaintiff is over 40, California law requires the plaintiff to submit:

  • A certificate of merit from a mental health professional who has not treated the plaintiff previously, stating that there is a valid reason why the plaintiff could not have discovered the harm sooner; or
  • A certificate of merit from the plaintiff’s lawyer stating that he or she reviewed the case and the findings of a mental health professional—and has concluded that the claim has merit. 

Unfortunately, many sexual abuse victims do not realize the harm inflicted by their abuse until several years after the fact. These exceptions to the typical statute of limitations for personal injury cases permit childhood sexual abuse victims to bring civil claims against their abusers decades after what is traditionally permitted.

There is no time to waste in bringing your sexual abuse claim. Contact one of our Stockton sexual abuse lawyers today to get started.

What Damages Can a Sexual Abuse Victim Recover?

In a civil lawsuit, sexual abuse victims can seek damages to compensate them for the harm they suffered due to the abuse. These damages aim to make the victim whole as if the sexual abuse never occurred. Damages commonly sought in sexual abuse claims include:

  • Medical costs,
  • Rehabilitation expenses,
  • Therapy,
  • Psychological treatment,
  • Lost wages,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Loss of earning capacity,
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and
  • Anxiety. 

If there is evidence of oppression, fraud, or malice on behalf of the abuser, the victim can seek punitive damages. Punitive damages aim to punish the defendant for wrongdoing.

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Promoting Healing Through Compassionate Advocacy

We believe that our duty goes beyond achieving large monetary awards for our clients. We strive first to be decent human beings who seek not to stir up fights, but to solve problems.

As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be enough business.

- Abraham Lincoln

Contact Our Stockton Sexual Abuse Attorneys at Silva Injury Law Today

Our team of Stockton sexual abuse attorneys at Silva Injury Law understands the trauma that sexual abuse victims go through—especially when it comes to facing their attacker. Not to mention, many victims face allegations of fabricating their abuse. 

We are committed to seeking justice for sexual abuse victims to help them in their recovery. While no amount of money will change what happened, it can help you pay for the treatment you need to live a fulfilling, healthy life. We will not rest until your abuser is held accountable for their wrongdoing. A sexual abuse attorney with Silva Injury Law will stand by your side every step of the way until your case is resolved. Contact our office today so we can start reviewing your case. 

 

Our experienced legal team also handles other types of personal injury cases, including: