Sexual abuse is devastating to the lives of victims, but you can take perpetrators to court. For help, call a Chicago sexual abuse attorney.
Sexual abuse and assault are crimes punishable by years in prison and other sentences. But even if the perpetrator is locked up, victims are often left with lingering emotional difficulties and trauma. What recourse do they have?
In Illinois, victims of sexual abuse can take abusers to civil court to recover compensation for their suffering. If you or a loved one is considering taking an abuser to court, however, be prepared for the legal challenges that lie ahead.
For one, the abuser is likely to have an attorney of his or her own, so you’ll want to consider hiring a Chicago sexual abuse lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve. At Lane & Lane, LLC, we’re wholeheartedly committed to helping the victims of sex abuse find financial justice.
Differences Between Criminal and Civil Court for Sexual Abuse
It’s likely that your abuser is in the process of being tried or has been tried in a criminal court. For many people, this seems like the end. After all, you can’t try someone for the same crime twice, right? Unfortunately, a criminal conviction for an abuser does nothing to financially compensate the abuser’s victim.
Criminal charges are different from civil suits—they’re strictly meant to punish the perpetrator, preventing further damage to you and the community. But while abusers may pay high fines to the criminal courts for their actions, this money will not go toward your recovery. Indeed, everything from the criminal trial is focused on the accused rather than on your suffering.
That’s where your civil suit comes in. Rather than being based on the crime that was committed, your Chicago sexual abuse claim will focus on the harm done to you. Your civil suit will be all about you and the compensation you deserve. This will be your main chance to recover, so it’s important to get started, even if the criminal trial is still going.
If the abuser is convicted of a crime, that’s more evidence that you were harmed by him or her, giving you a better chance at winning your civil lawsuit. If you’re seeking compensation and your abuser is on trial for his or her crimes, get started as soon as possible on your case. Either way, give our Chicago law firm a call to discuss your options.
Common Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse
To get the compensation you deserve, you will need to name the perpetrator or perpetrators in your Chicago sexual abuse claim. To that end, the first step will be identifying the perpetrator and gathering evidence to prove your claim.
Your attorney can help you gather the appropriate evidence, which might include legal documents, medical records, criminal histories, witness statements, and more. While it could be tough to get these documents on your own, a Chicago sex abuse lawyer can help while you focus on your life.
Such cases can be especially difficult if your attacker was close to you—as is often the case—or a person with authority. However, once you name the person in question, we can get started on your claim and handle everything from there. The following are some of the most common abusers taken to court for Chicago sex abuse claims:
- Family members
- Spouses and partners
- In cases involving minors: teachers, coaches, extracurricular activity leaders, and church administrators
In the vast majority of cases, victims of sexual violence know their abusers, although cases involving sex assault or molestation by strangers do occur. Whatever information you can provide about the abuser, however, will help, and we’ll begin as quickly as possible with your case.
Sex Abuse Can Take Many Forms
Sexual violence is a broad term that refers to any sexual contact for which the recipient does not or cannot give consent. Almost any action that is classified as sexual violence may warrant a sexual abuse claim for compensation in Chicago.
No matter what type of sex abuse you’ve suffered, we can help. While it may be difficult to think about what happened, if you’ve suffered any of the violent acts listed here, you should be compensated. The following are some common types of sexual abuse that lead to court claims:
- Rape – Rapists can be held accountable for their egregious actions in criminal and civil court.
- Sexual Abuse of Minors – These cases often involve religious institutions, schools, and youth sports organizations. Sexual contact with a minor is a crime and can and should be punished in civil and criminal court. If your child has been victimized by an adult, a Chicago child sex abuse lawyer can help you file a claim.
- Unwanted Touching – Touching with hands or objects in a sexual manner against someone’s will is a form of sexual violence and may warrant a civil claim, in addition to a criminal case.
- Drug-Facilitated Assault – More commonly known as “date rape,” this form of sexual violence is an egregious abuse and should not go unpunished.
- Intimate Partner Violence – Partners and married couples must give consent for sexual contact. An abusive partner can be held accountable in criminal and civil court.
There are other forms of sexual violence. If you believe you have been a victim, you may still have a viable claim even if what happened to you is not listed here. A Chicago sex abuse attorney can advise you on the next steps in filing your claim.
Red Flags Associated with Sexual Abuse
If you suspect that someone you love might be suffering from sexual abuse in any of its forms, there are certain warning signs you can keep an eye out for. Keep in mind that a person exhibiting just one of these red flags may not have been abused, but the more signs you see, the greater the chance that they’ve been sexually abused or something else traumatic has happened to them.
Some of the signs of sexual abuse include a loss or gain in appetite, the sudden onset of depression or anxiety, social isolation, thoughts of self-harm, substance abuse, being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, nightmares, post-traumatic stress disorder, and age regression, among others.
There are also signs you can look out for when an abuser knows their victim, as most do. Some red flags that perpetrators have been known to display include not respecting boundaries, discussing inappropriate topics, showing an inappropriate sexual interest in the victim, and engaging in unwanted physical behaviors like touching, hugging, kissing, and other physical contact.
What You Should Do if You Suspect Sex Abuse in Chicago
When you have reason to believe that someone you love is being sexually abused, you have to act. First and foremost, you need to make sure you get them to safety. If this is your child, remove them from the situation that you believe is where they’re being abused, whether that’s at the home of a friend or family member or even their school.
Once they’re safe, you should carefully bring your concerns to their attention. Do not be surprised if they deny your claims or get angry that you’d bring something like this up—this is a normal reaction. If they are able to open up to you, it may be time to get the police involved. You can call your local police department and make a report so they can begin a criminal investigation.
Then call your sexual abuse lawyer in Chicago. We’ll begin building a case with all the evidence we have so you can secure the compensation the victim will need to move forward.
Compensation for Sex Abuse
Victims of sexual abuse in Chicago can and should receive compensation for every damage they have suffered as a result of the abuse. In addition to economic damages, sex abuse claims often involve non-economic damages, which are those that do not have a financial impact on victims but warrant compensation nonetheless.
These non-economic damages can be difficult to calculate, but our lawyers will have the tools to calculate them for you. These emotional damages can be just as difficult to work through as the physical ones—if not more difficult—because they can haunt you for decades.
Getting compensation may not heal the mental wounds you’ve suffered, but it can help you pay for the treatments you need and cover your expenses while you’re handling the aftermath of your sexual abuse. The following are some common damages awarded in Chicago sexual abuse claims:
- Any medical bills related to the abuse
- The cost of emotional therapy
- Emotional distress, including trauma like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
Sex abuse cases often end with large financial awards to victims because the actions of the perpetrators are so horrific. A Chicago sexual violence lawyer can help you maximize the value of your claim so your suffering is fairly accounted for.
How Else Can a Chicago Sex Abuse Attorney Help Me?
When you’ve been injured because of another person, you deserve compensation, but that compensation isn’t easy to get. Even if the other person is given a conviction and jail time, it’s possible to make a mistake and lose it all in your sex abuse civil suit.
When you’re thinking of fighting back against your sexual abuser or abusers, know that a sexual abuse lawyer in Chicago can make that process easier and more efficient for you and your case in several key ways.
When you’re in the middle of a civil case and you’re dealing with the aftermath of your traumatic event, it’s easy to lose track of the laws and statutes you’ll need to keep in mind. It’s unfortunate, but if you wait too long to file, you could lose your chance for compensation. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the incident or the discovery of the harm, although exceptions can apply to sexual abuse cases.
Fortunately, a lawyer can help you keep track of the laws that will affect your case. You’re dealing with a terrible situation, and a lawyer will understand that. At our firm, we’ll do our best to simplify the situation for you so you can focus on your recovery.
A lawyer will be especially helpful in standing up to your abuser. When you’re dealing with someone you knew and trusted, such as a teacher or a family member, it’s difficult to face him or her and fight for the compensation you deserve. If you’re struggling with your case, you can rest easy knowing that we’re on your side.
Contact a Chicago Sexual Abuse Attorney
The days, months, and years after sexual abuse are often extremely difficult for victims. The emotional trauma and pain alone warrant compensation. On top of that, you’ve been hurt, and chances are good that you feel threatened and frightened.
Holding the perpetrators of sexual abuse accountable in civil court is important so victims see financial justice, but it is also an important way to help prevent these types of wrongs from being done to other victims in the future.
When you’re seeking justice for your abuse, call a lawyer who can support your needs while also acting quickly to make sure you get the care and attention you need. Our attorneys will fight for you.
The attorneys at Lane & Lane, LLC understand how sensitive these matters can be, and we are fully prepared to handle your case with care and the efficiency necessary for a successful outcome. To schedule a free, no-pressure consultation with a Chicago sexual abuse lawyer, give us a call at 312-332-1400 or fill out the online contact form at the bottom of the page.
Chicago Sexual Abuse FAQ
When you or someone you love has survived sexual abuse, there are probably some questions that you’ll need answered before you’re ready to move forward with your claim. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some of our clients’ most common questions about Chicago sex abuse claims.
Will I have to see my abuser in court?
The short answer is that you might. In some cases, we’ll be negotiating outside of court to get you the settlement you deserve. If the other side meets our demands for full compensation, you won’t have to go to court or see your abuser. However, in some cases, the other side will refuse to negotiate fairly. In this scenario, you will likely see your abuser in court.
It’s worth noting that many survivors of sexual abuse report that, while initially terrified, they left court that day feeling empowered when they looked their abuser in the eye and told their story. In either case, your attorney will be right by your side at every moment to ensure your safety and comfort.
How much does it cost to hire a sexual abuse attorney?
We work with our clients on a contingency fee basis. This will enable us to work together without any payment up front. Our fee will be a percentage of your settlement or court award. Once we have an agreement on the fee, we will build and present your case so you can obtain the compensation you deserve.
You won’t have to pay us a cent unless or until we win your case. After you win, our fee can be deducted straight from your award so you won’t have to be burdened with a bill later.
How will my damages be calculated in a sex abuse claim?
Your attorney will need to quantify your damages—that is, place a monetary value on each item. This will be relatively simple for your economic damages, but then we’ll need to calculate the value of your non-economic damages, such as your pain and suffering. This can be difficult because these damages are intangible, but we have cutting-edge tools and formulas meant to maximize your compensation.