Sexual Abuse Lawyers Serving Miami
There are different ways people suffer from abuse. For example, some people suffer physical abuse through intimate partner violence, while others are exposed to financial and emotional abuse.
While all forms of abuse cause traumatic experiences for victims, many of the worst experiences come from sexual abuse. That’s why you can fight for justice with our Miami sexual abuse lawyers’ help if you’re a victim of abuse (by appointment only).
The effects of sexual abuse can also be physical, emotional, and psychological; they may even last a lifetime. While some sexual abuse victims will suffer from depression, flashbacks, and PTSD, others may retort to self-harm. In many cases, survivors contract sexually transmitted diseases or turn to substance abuse as coping mechanisms. It’s can be very difficult to handle.
The sexual abuse attorneys at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers understand how difficult it is to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault. That’s why we employ extra caution and diplomacy in handling your case.
We’ll help you seek justice while respecting your privacy and handling your case with the utmost confidentiality. Call (561) 800-8000 to speak with our friendly lawyers for more information on how we can help you during this overwhelming situation.What Is Sexual Abuse?
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines sexual abuse as unwanted sexual activities. Often, the perpetrators sexually abuse their victims by making threats, using force, and taking advantage of their naivety or inability to consent. In other words, sexual abuse happens any time someone exploits or violates another through any activity of a sexual nature.
Often, abusers prey on victims who they perceive they’re stronger than. This means that children or minors are at higher risk of falling victim to this wicked act. Experts say most kids still suffer sexual abuse from trustworthy individuals, including parents, teachers, caregivers, neighbors, and friends.
Unfortunately, children don’t always realize what is going on, so there’s the likelihood that they’ll suffer abuse multiple times. Sexual abuse can happen anytime, day, and anywhere.
While sexual abuse can occur at schools and churches, there are also reports of sexual abuse at the survivor’s home. Surprisingly, people also suffer sexual harassment in public spaces and in broad daylight. It’s important to note here that minors don’t have the legal capacity to consent to any sexual activity.
Sexual abuse includes all cases where the abused failed (or had no capacity) to give consent, including:
- Any activity of a sexual nature involving a child or minor. This includes exposing a child to pornography or compelling them to watch sexual activities
- Sexual battery and rape
- Fondling or any form of physical contact with someone else’s sexual organs. It’s still sexual assault if the abuser uses an object to carry out this act.
- Exposing sexual organs to another or flashing, etc
- Note that sexual abuse doesn’t apply where healthcare personnel genuinely touch sexual organs as part of a medical examination.
The answer to this question is, “more common than you think.” Sexual abuse is a huge problem in the United States of America and requires more attention from everyone. Research shows that:
- About 1 in 13 and 1 in 4 boys and girls experience child sexual abuse
- 91% of child abuse perpetrators are people the child or their family members know
- Females who experienced child sexual abuse are at high risk of sexual violence victimization as they attain maturity
- Sexually abused children are at an increased risk for non-sexual intimate partner violence
There are more statistics from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network):
- An American experiences sexual assault every 68 seconds
- 1 in 6 American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape at some point in their lives
- 34% of child sexual assault victims are under the age of 12
- 66% of child sexual assault victims are aged 12-17
- Most cases of sexual assault happen in the victim’s home
- 48% of the sexual assault survivors were sleeping or performing other home activities when they were abused
- 29% of victims were commuting to/from work, school, and shops or were running errands when they were sexually abused
- 12% of survivors were working
Furthermore, children between 5-11 years in Miami-Dade suffered sexual violence at the rate of 46 per 100,000 in 2020. As if this is not alarming enough, reports show that these statistics are nothing compared to reality.
For example, Brennan Center for Justice reports that 80% of rapes and sexual assaults remain unreported. Moreso, in every 1,000 sexual assault cases, 975 abusers will go scot-free mainly because many of them are unreported.
Sexual abuse victims fail to report cases for different reasons. This includes fear of retaliation and disbelief in the justice system.What Should I Do if I Am Sexually Abused?
Sexual assault is never a pleasant experience, and the aftermath can be horrifying. However, taking the proper steps after an assault will reduce your risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It will also ensure that you have enough evidence to pursue criminal charges or civil claims against the perpetrators.
Let’s get straight to the crucial steps to take after sexual abuse:Dial 911
After a sexual assault, you may experience shock and confusion as part of your body’s fight or flight response. If you can, use a coping mechanism such as calling a best friend or covering yourself with blankets to make you feel safer.
If you’re still in danger, dial 911 immediately to get help as quickly as possible. Otherwise, visit the nearest police station or contact your local law enforcement by calling their direct line.
There are numerous advantages of reporting to the police as soon after the abuse as possible. However, the primary advantage is to find the abuser and investigate the assault. Reporting sexual abuse to the police is essential if you wish to take legal action against the offender.Obtain Medical Care
Another vital step to take after a sexual abuse experience is to visit a medical center immediately. It's important to treat any injuries you sustained during the assault as soon as possible to avoid health complications. Furthermore, this step can help in your injury claim.
When you visit the clinic, the medical personnel will provide you with a rape kit when you visit the clinic. This kit comprises envelopes, swabs, comb, bags, paper sheets, etc. You'll perform a sexual assault forensic exam that collects blood samples, DNA, and other evidence.
The doctors may also offer you emergency contraception to reduce your risk of pregnancy. Alternatively, you can purchase one from a drug store.Talk to Someone
One thing is clear: dealing with sexual abuse is difficult. You may have mood swings, feel terror and grief or withdraw from family and friends. Some sexual abuse victims also report feeling disconnected, unmotivated, afraid, or numb. Every victim processes their situation differently and whatever you feel is valid.
However, it's important to choose healthy coping mechanisms to navigate this difficult time at this stage. For example, it can help to talk to a trustworthy friend or family about how you feel.
It'll also help to accept the support and comfort they may provide — you need all the love you can get. If you don't feel better after a while, you may want to speak with an experienced therapist or counselor.
Numerous organizations such as RAINN, Safe Horizon, and 1in6 provide resources and other aid to survivors. It may help to reach out to them too.Consider Your Legal Options
If you wish to take legal action against your abuser, speak with experienced Miami sexual abuse lawyers immediately. Your attorneys will evaluate your legal options and advise you on the right steps. They'll also provide emotional support while exercising your legal rights.Prioritize Self-Care
After a sexual abuse situation, the primary aim should be your swift recovery. At this stage of your life, it's essential to be kind to yourself and practice self-care. Ensure you eat healthy meals, stay physically active, and enjoy your hobbies. Dedicate as much time as you need to recover and move forward.Who Is Responsible for My Sexual Assault Injuries in Miami?
In any sexual abuse case in Miami, the perpetrator of the crime is the primary offender. They're the ones who made the unjustifiable decision to hurt you, and they must deal with the consequences. However, they're not the only ones who may be liable for your sexual abuse.
Florida comparative fault and premises liability laws may impose liability on third parties whose negligence contributed to your assault. Generally, these third parties are people responsible for ensuring your safety in the environment you were assaulted in. If they failed to provide adequate security for the premises, they can be liable for negligent security.
In determining what amounts to negligent security, the court may consider these factors:The Prevalence of Criminal Activities in the Locality
Some neighborhoods are more notorious for criminal activities than others. Therefore, landlords and business owners must take security precautions to match the level of crime.Past Criminal Activities
Property owners must also consider past criminal activities in the locality when determining the security measures to put in place. Past criminal activities in an area may also influence the likelihood of crime.The Type of Business
Some businesses are more prone to sexual harassment and other vices than others. For example, sexual crimes are more likely to happen at nightclubs than in schools. As such, what amounts to adequate security will be different in both establishments.
Depending on your case's specifics, liable parties may include:
- Property owners
- Hotel managers
- Business owners
- Night clubs
- Restaurants and bars
- Cruise ships
- Nursing homes
- Colleges and universities
- Government entities, etc
Security measures that property owners may take to reduce crime rates include:
- Employing security guards
- Installing video surveillance cameras
- Providing adequate lighting
- Repairing locks
- Keeping gates locked
If you have questions about proving negligence in sexual abuse cases, our Miami sexual abuse lawyers can help (by appointment).Can I File a Civil Claim for Sexual Harassment in Miami?
Sexual abuse and attempted sexual assault are felonies that carry severe punishments in Miami. The penalties for these offenses include fines, and jail terms, including life imprisonment depending on the severity. Meanwhile, dangerous sexual offenders have a mandatory jail time of 25 years. Sexual abusers may also need to register in the state’s sex offender registry for the rest of their lives.
Fortunately, pursuing a criminal charge against an offender doesn't stop you from filing a civil claim. While accused persons face fines and imprisonment in a criminal case, they could pay damages for your injuries in a civil action. Luckily, the outcome of a criminal trial wouldn’t affect your civil case’s outcome, even though it can significantly influence it.
Sometimes, a discharged and acquitted attacker may still be liable for damages in civil court. This is because the standard of proof for criminal and civil cases differs. Criminal matters are stricter and require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but civil courts base their ruling on which side has more evidence.What Damages Will I Receive in My Sexual Abuse Claim?
Besides the emotional and psychological effects of sexual abuse, you may also suffer these injuries during a sexual assault:
- Genital injuries
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Facial injuries
- Dental injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Soft tissue damage
- Cuts and lacerations
- Head and neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Head injuries, like concussions
- Other catastrophic injuries
After a successful sexual abuse claim, you may get the following compensation for your hurt:Economic Damages
Economic damages provide compensation for your out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the abuse. For example, the attacker must reimburse you for the cost of medical treatment for your sexual abuse injuries. This includes the cost of physical therapy, hospitalization, medications, rehabilitation, psychological counseling, etc.
This type of compensation can also include money lost because of the assault. As such, you can also receive compensation for lost income, reduced earning potential, and property damage. You will need documentation like receipts, medical records, etc., to prove economic damages.Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages cover compensation for the intangible, psychological, and emotional pain you suffered. They include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, mental anguish, PTSD, reduced quality of life, disfigurement, etc. Note that the compensation amounts you’ll receive depend largely on the court’s discretion.Punitive Damages
Punitive damages don’t compensate you for your injuries. Instead, they aim to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing. It’s similar to a fine in criminal proceedings, except that it’s only applicable in civil claims. You only receive punitive damages based on the court’s discretion.
These factors can influence your compensatory awards:
- The nature of the sexual assault (some cases are more violent than others)
- Where the abuse occurred
- The severity of your bodily injuries and property damage
- Victim’s age vs. defendant’s age
- Psychological injuries
- The quality of your personal injury attorney, etc
Why is a Miami sexual abuse attorney essential to your personal injury claim? We’ll show you:Evidence Gathering and Investigation
Remember that the outcome of your civil case depends largely on the abundance of evidence in your favor. Your Miami sexual abuse lawyers will gather all the proof necessary for your claim. They’ll put the evidence together to make a compelling case on your behalf.
Sometimes, you may not have enough evidence to make a good case. In such cases, lawyers will leverage their connections and collaborate with other professionals to investigate the facts of your case.Case Evaluation
Your attorneys will evaluate your case to determine the best legal approach to adopt. They’ll also help calculate your damages and chances of success.Negotiation
In many sexual assault cases, you’ll have to file a claim against a defendant’s insurance company if they have coverage for assault. After filing a claim on your behalf, your Miami sexual abuse lawyers will leverage their experience to negotiate a settlement.Trial
If your case goes to court, you can trust your attorneys to make strong arguments on your behalf.What’s the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Cases in Miami?
While you can put a call through to your attorney at any time, it’s important to do so as early as possible. This is because you must file a claim within two years of the assault date. If you fail to meet this timeframe, you risk having your case barred.Discuss Your Claim with an Attorney