Sex Abuse Cases: Civil vs. Criminal

Survivors of sexual abuse often wonder what they can do to get the justice they deserve. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to file a claim in civil court against your abuser and the perpetrators of your abuse. However, civil court and criminal court are two very different forms of justice.

In your Chicago civil case, you and your attorney will be the ones bringing the claim against your abuser, whereas in Chicago criminal court, the state, represented by the prosecutor, will be the one to bring charges against them. There are significant differences between these types of court cases, and we discuss some of these differences below.

The Burden of Proof

To begin, in criminal court, the prosecutor will bring charges against your abuser. If found guilty, your abuser will be facing jail or prison time, fines, probation, community service, and registration as a sex offender. In your civil claim, when your abuser is found liable for your damages, they’ll be ordered to compensate you for your losses.

As you can imagine, there is much that goes into a judge and/or jury finding your sexual abuser guilty or liable for what you’ve been through. In criminal court, the prosecutor will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of sexual abuse, but in civil court, your attorney only needs to prove, based a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant is liable.

This means that the evidence demonstrates that it is more likely than not that the person being accused of your abuse is, in fact, liable for your damages. Once the judge and/or jury finds them guilty or liable, sentencing will commence if it is a criminal trial. In a civil trial, the judge will then determine how much you are entitled to.

What Happens after the Verdict in a Sex Abuse Case

As previously stated, in criminal court, if the defendant is found guilty, they will be given a second date to appear in court for their sentencing. The sentence they’ll be given will be largely based on the charges they were convicted of. Alternatively, in civil court, the judge presiding over your case will then review how impactful your injuries were on your life.

Some of the different damages that might be included in your personal injury claim consist of pain and suffering, loss of companionship and love, mental anguish, medical expenses, and loss of enjoyment of life, to name a few.

Once the judge determines how much you are entitled to, they’ll decide whether or not punitive damages apply in your Chicago sex abuse case. Then, they will compel the defendant to compensate you as per the award they’ve issued.

Get Help from a Chicago Sex Abuse Lawyer

If you’re ready to bring a claim against your abuser in civil court, you need a highly trained Chicago sex abuse lawyer at Lane & Lane, LLC to represent your best interests. We offer our prospective clients a complimentary claim assessment before they make the decision to move forward. Schedule yours by calling our office at 312-332-1400 or by filling out the quick contact form we’ve provided below.

Get Answers, Contact Us Now REQUEST A CONSULTATION
OR CALL NOW 312-471-0538