Dallas Attorney to Represent Sexual Abuse Victims
Texas law strictly punishes those who violate another person by sexually assaulting them or sexually abusing them. The criminal justice system works diligently to make arrests and prosecute these individuals for crimes, but many times the criminal justice system does little to look out for the victims and survivors of these assaults and abuse. As a victim, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to any criminal charges filed against your abuser.
A personal injury lawsuit for sexual assault or sexual abuse might be able to get you financial compensation for the harm you suffered and have your abuser pay you damages for the harm they caused. For help understanding your right to file, the deadline attached to your claim, and how to file your case, call The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Dallas sexual abuse victim lawyers are available for a free legal consultation on your case. Call (817) 476-1797 to schedule your free legal consultation today.
Suing Abusers for Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault in Texas
Under Texas law, victims of an assault or abuse can sue their assailant in addition to filing criminal charges against them. These lawsuits go through the civil court system and are typically filed as personal injury cases. These claims have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases, meaning that you need only to prove that it was more likely than not that the person abused or assaulted you rather than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal court. While a civil lawsuit will not typically lead to jail time for the abuser, it can lead to substantial financial compensation for the harm you faced.
These lawsuits allow you to sue for a broad range of acts committed against you. The definition of assault and battery typically include any intentional, unwanted touching. This minimum definition would include nearly any type of sexual abuse or sexual assault. The definitions under some criminal statutes can put a stronger name to what happened, such as “sexual assault of a child” under Penal Code § 22.011(a)(2) or “aggravated sexual assault” under § 22.011(a)(1)(A).
To prove your case, you must convince a jury that the assailant committed the acts you allege. The court will hear testimony from you and any other relevant witnesses, such as parents, medical care providers, or eyewitnesses to the acts.
Seeking Compensation from Abusers in Texas
Many instances of child sexual abuse occur in institutions or are committed by members of an organization. Many people in positions of trust or authority, such as priests, doctors, and teachers, have been accused and convicted of sexual abuse or sexual assault. In some cases like these, you may be able to file your claim not only against the individual that harmed you but also against their employer or the organization that turned a blind eye to your abuse.
In many cases, organizations are responsible for their employees’ abusive acts. If the organization failed to provide adequate supervision, failed to properly screen or vet employees, or actively hid information from you that delayed your discovery of the abuse, you may be entitled to file your claim against them as well as the individual perpetrator.
The compensation you receive for your case will depend heavily on how the assault affected you. In cases involving serious physical injury, you may be entitled to damages for the medical expenses you faced. If the injuries you suffered kept you from work or reduced your earnings, this could also result in damages.
Most commonly in sexual abuse and sexual assault cases, the victim will face pain and suffering from the injury. This can include the physical pain and discomfort associated with the assault as well as the mental anguish and emotional distress related to the assault. Many survivors of sexual assault will seek counseling and therapy, and the costs of this mental health treatment should also be included in the lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Claims in Texas
Many assault claims have a strict deadline that prevents claims from being brought years after the events. Unfortunately, many victims will repress thoughts about their victimization and may not fully understand that they were abused until years later. Child victims may not understand the assault or what happened until later in life, and they may also need additional time to file their case.
In some assault cases, the statute of limitations requires you to file your case within 2 years of the assault. However, if the acts committed against you satisfy the definition of certain crimes listed in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.0045, the deadline to file might be extended to 15 years or 5 years. The Texas legislature is currently working on extending some of these deadlines, so this may potentially increase from 15 to 30 years. These extended deadlines primarily cover child sexual abuse and sexual assault as well as other severe instances of sexual assault.
Child victims can also typically extend the deadline by waiting until they are 18. Personal injury victims who suffered harm as a child are typically permitted to wait until they are 18 before filing their injury cases. Children are often unable to appreciate and understand the harm they suffered, and the law reflects this by sometimes allowing children to wait until they are 18 before the limitations period starts to run.
Call Our Dallas Sexual Abuse Victim Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
If you think that you or your child was sexually abused, call The Queenan Law Offices today to schedule a free, confidential legal consultation. Our attorneys can meet with you and discuss your case, helping you understand how you may be able to proceed and what kinds of damages you may be entitled to for the harm you suffered. For a free legal consultation on your case, call our Dallas attorneys for sexual abuse victims and survivors. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797.