Situations involving sexual abuse form some of the most sensitive civil liability cases and some of the most important. Far too many victims are silenced and unable to have the opportunity to seek justice and hold abusers accountable. By working with a sexual assault attorney, you can work towards building a strong case, documenting your encounters with abuse, and quantifying the damages you have suffered.

The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ are experienced in assisting with sexual abuse and assault cases across a variety of possible contexts. From holding employers and law enforcement agencies accountable to protecting minors to demanding restitution from an abuser in a domestic situation, many different incidents can form the basis of such a case. While these matters are often difficult to discuss and relive, what’s even more difficult is to suffer from the consequences without receiving rightful restitution for the damages you have suffered.

If you are interested in learning more about your legal options for pursuing a claim against the person or organization responsible for your hardship, do not hesitate to reach out to our offices. Schedule a free, confidential case review, with no obligation to retain our services further, when you call (312) 999-9990 or contact us online. We aim to help you assert your legal rights while protecting you from any further suffering, using all of the resources we have available.

Why Might It Be in My Interests to Speak to an Illinois  Sexual Abuse Attorney?

A natural response to a traumatic incident is to want to move past it. However, moving past a sexual assault can be extremely challenging for multiple reasons. One of the biggest is that the incident takes a physical and mental toll on the survivor. They are likely to benefit from receiving mental health therapy and other forms of care. They may even have suffered a medical injury or developed a condition as a result of the incident. There are likely also other forms of personal pain and suffering damages they have endured.

Working with an attorney enables you to pursue a claim against your abuser and, potentially, the organization that enabled their abuse to occur. Many abusers are protected by the institutions they serve. Others are protected by the unspoken “code of silence” that survivors are often unwittingly forced into as a form of trying to cope and function as if nothing has happened. These situations only serve to benefit the abuser, whereas building a case with an attorney helps to expose their abuses while potentially preventing future abuse from occurring.

The team at The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ understands the anguish, anxiety, and even inexplicable shame that can accompany such a devastating incident. Whether it was endured by you directly or someone you care for, know that we are here to assert the full extent of your legal rights under state and federal laws.

Services and benefits we can provide you may include:

  • Rigorous investigation of your incident and its surrounding circumstances
  • Retrieval of all available evidence supporting your reports and your claim
  • Accurate valuation of all damages you have suffered and will suffer, including projected costs of future therapy and care
  • Restitution for your pain and suffering and any retaliation or loss of personal/professional reputation you have experienced
  • Representation during claims negotiations and other interactions, reducing your need to appear while still aggressively fighting for your own interests
  • Guidance for appropriate legal strategy and available options, including options that may preclude the abuser from repeating their actions
  • Cooperation with law enforcement and any criminal proceedings
  • Assistance finding resources and obtaining protections like a restraining order
  • Experienced counsel and assistance at all stages of your claim, meaning you don’t have to go through it all alone anymore

What Damages Might Be Available in a Sexual Abuse Case?

While every case is different, common damages might include the following:

  • Medical bills for injury treatment, as well as diagnosis and exams
  • Estimated costs for future treatments
  • Restitution for losses like loss of job or moving costs related to a relocation
  • Lost wages for losses related to work missed during recovery or care appointments, as well as any reduction in wages directly connected to the effects of the incident
  • Compensation for pain and suffering, including PTSD, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, and other conditions that may develop

How Is a Sexual Abuse Claim Different Than Criminal Prosecution?

Criminal prosecution aims to impose penalties on the individual who committed wrongful acts, punishing them for their transgression while sending a deterring message to others. However, criminal prosecution may result in limited to no restitution for survivors. Further, it requires a high burden of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” for a jury to convict.

Civil actions aim to hold perpetrators accountable for the financial damages they inflict. Further, they use a lower standard of a “preponderance of evidence,” meaning it is more likely than not that any allegations are true. An individual can also hold an organization like a school or employer accountable for damages under standards like negligence, as opposed to having to prove criminal wrongdoing.

Another main difference is that criminal cases must always proceed to trial, whereas civil cases can be (and often are) settled without the need for a formal trial or, sometimes, even a lawsuit.

When a criminal conviction occurs, it can provide evidence to strengthen a civil claim. At the same time, the different evidentiary standards can mean that someone is acquitted (or not fully prosecuted) for criminal acts but still be held liable civilly for damages they have inflicted.

Common Settings Where Sexual Abuse Occurs

Sexual abuse can happen anywhere, including direct assault or indirect offenses like harassment and intimidation. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that over 400,000 individuals 12 and older are sexually assaulted every year. In addition, an estimated 60,000 children were confirmed or likely survivors of a sexual abuse incident.

However, within these numbers, certain patterns of common factors emerge, including the abuser and the location where the abuse primarily took place. Listed below are some of the most common settings where sexual abuse is perpetuated.

Corporate/Professional Environments

Sadly (and frustratingly), many incidents of sexual assault and abuse occur while someone is simply trying to work their job. 78% of these incidents affect women, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and over 6 – 7 thousand harassment reports are filed each year.

While individual incidents often come down to the conduct of one person, the truth is that many times, there is a pattern at specific employers and institutions. Inadequate supervision, a lack of procedure for allegations, and a tendency to ignore rather than investigate claims can all supply grounds for a possible negligence charge against the business or professional entity itself. Speak to an attorney to determine whether your situation qualifies as part of a pattern of enablement on the part of the institution that had a duty to minimize such risks to employees, contractors, and other involved parties.

Nursing Homes

Nursing home abuse is shockingly common, and it can often take the form of sexual abuse. This can include direct assault as well as verbal harassment, intimidation, or retaliation in response to the affected person seeking to protect themself or remove themself from the situation.

Many nursing homes show lapses in their obligations to screen employees and oversee their conduct in order to protect residents. Speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer to learn more about your legal options for holding them accountable.

Healthcare

Healthcare settings often involve a lot of trust, as patients are not only in a position of lower power than their provider but are often also put in vulnerable situations. When this trust is abused, it is often part of a pattern of misconduct engaged by one or more individuals. The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ will work to not only investigate your own experiences but also whether others have been subject to the same abuses.

Jails, Prisons & Police Encounters

Even more so than healthcare providers, correctional officers, and law enforcement officers hold great power over individuals who have been convicted or are suspected of committing a crime. RAINN statistics show that over 80,000 reported annual assaults affect inmates of prisons and jails. These assaults often occur when fellow inmates are left without adequate supervision, but situations where the abuser was an officer are also quite prevalent.

Our firm works to protect your civil rights, uncover abuses, and seek to hold our law enforcement and incarceration agencies accountable for the suffering of others. We also help to expose bad practices in order to reduce the risk that such incidents could happen again.

Public Settings

While not as common as incidents involving acquaintances, sexual assaults and abuse can happen when total strangers prey on people in a public setting. This horrifying scenario can happen at bars, concert venues, recreational facilities, gyms, hotels, retail stores, and more. Drug-aided assaults are especially common during outings with lots of crowds. Survivors can often pinpoint the responsibility of the facility or location as a primary factor in their assault. Working with an attorney, they can seek to identify the perpetrator while also highlighting negligence or wrongful actions taken by those responsible for the location where the incident took place.

Domestic

Sadly, a large portion of assaults each year involve partners, family members, and others who live with or around the survivor. The survivor may be silenced and forced to endure other forms of abuse and control while in the presence of their abuser. These incidents should be reported as promptly as possible to the appropriate domestic abuse hotline. You can reach out to an attorney for assistance with obtaining a protective order (restraining order), having the offender removed from the home, or taking other steps to protect you and your family.

Sexual Abuse Cases Involving Minors

Children are among the most vulnerable to sexual abuse. They may have difficulty processing or understanding what occurred. Other times, the trauma of the incident leads to responses like denial, repression, and transference of accusations onto another target.

Getting to a point of understanding as to what, exactly, happened requires the expertise of child therapists and others trained to handle such sensitive matters. Our experienced attorneys can help you obtain the resources you need to fully investigate any incident and then seek to hold the responsible persons and institutions accountable for what has transpired.

Common settings where a minor may be assaulted include:

  • Daycare
  • School
  • After-school and extracurricular programs
  • Sports practice and trips
  • Healthcare appointments
  • Church programs
  • Tutors
  • Foster care
  • Visits/stays with relatives

Parents and those close to the underage survivor may notice changes in behavior. These commonly include depression, fatigue, agitation, and loss of interest in activities or subjects they once enjoyed. They may also display physical signs of harm, including bruising or other injuries. Always take proactive steps any time you suspect possible abuse. Notify administrators and relay any information you have to an agency like the Department of Family and Child Services (DFCS).

Work With an Experienced Illinois Sexual Abuse Law Firm

At The Personal Injury Lawyers ™, we use care and discretion with every case. Our knowledge of state and federal laws, along with case law and common standards of conduct, position us to handle your case with precision. We use all of our available resources and legal knowledge to maximize your chances of holding responsible individuals and institutions accountable.

Find out more about how we can help you succeed in your goals and recover what you have lost during a free, confidential case evaluation. Schedule your free consultation now when you call (312) 999-9990 or contact us online.

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The Personal Injury Lawyers ™
77 W. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601