Sexual Abuse Lawyers Serving Port St. Lucie
As a parent, your most important job in life is to protect the innocence and safety of your child. Finding out your child has been sexually abused can be devastating, especially if it occurred by someone you trusted.
The lasting impacts that sexual abuse victims can experience are detrimental to their mental health and can take a long time to recover from. Regardless of who the offender is, the victim has a right to sue. If your child has suffered from sexual abuse, it’s time to act. You have legal rights in Florida to seek compensation and justice against these kinds of horrible incidents.
It’s easy for victims and the families of victims in these situations to feel alone and desperate for help. The team at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers is here for you every step of the way, and we want to help.
Keep reading our guide to learn more about sexual abuse and your right to file a claim with the help of a highly acclaimed attorney.Legally Defining Sexual Abuse
The legal definition of sexual abuse can be any minor who experiences illegally performed sex acts by parents, guardians, relatives, strangers, or acquaintances.
There are various sex crimes you’ve likely heard about, from sexual harassment to sexual misconduct and assault. The most significant difference with sexual abuse crimes is that they are strictly targeted at children or minors, whereas other sex crimes can expand to adults or those over 18.
Sexual abuse in children is a repeated behavior between the victim and the offender or a horrific one-time incident that qualifies as sexual abuse since the child did not give consent.
Anyone who experiences a sex-related crime can undergo challenges later in life from the trauma. Still, children see a more significant impact on their behavior and mental development since it’s a prominent scar they are forced to live with.Types of Sexual Abuse Crimes
Many sex crimes can be interchangeable and included in various sex crimes known for anyone to experience. The types of sexual abuse crimes that children can experience vary. It’s possible that they can experience more than one type of sexual abuse crime as the pattern continues for an extended period of time.
Recently, there has been a significant uptick in child sex trafficking. Not too long ago, popular eCommerce sites were accused of sex trafficking for hints of what they were selling online.
While there are 40 million people who are sold into sex trafficking, 25% are children, with the average age ranging from 12-14.
Sex trafficking of children can be a national or global issue. Other than this type of sexual abuse crime, there are other crimes acted out on children without consent that can include:
- Child molestation
- Child pornography
- Unwanted or unconsented touching in a sexual nature
- Forced sexual acts
- Exposing oneself in front of children
- Using a position of trust to persuade or force the child into sexual acts
- Exposing children to sexually explicit material
- Child prostitution
- Other internet-related sex crimes with a minor
There is no setting where sexual abuse crimes are more likely to happen. Most sexual abuse crimes happen with a child and a trusted adult. The adult can be a parent, other relatives, neighbors, family friends, caregivers, teachers, or anyone else.
Things can happen behind the scenes when a child is left alone with a trusted adult. These offenders can coerce the child by using the trust the offender has built with a child to get them to engage in the act.
Sexual abuse crimes can happen anywhere from your home to the offender’s home, a schoolhouse, a vehicle, or another location. Unfortunately, you never truly know if you can trust others with your children. That’s why discussing what is happening in your child’s daily life is always important when you aren’t around to supervise your child.The Damaging Aftermath of Sexual Abuse
Children who experience sexual abuse can develop many struggles shortly or a while after their experiences. Depending on the age and duration of the sexual abuse, a child may experience emotional aftermath more quickly than others or much later in life.
It also affects children by who the sexual abuse was with. Children who experience this form of abuse from a parent, relative, or friend tend to feel more trauma than those afflicted by individuals they were less tied to.
Regardless of who the assault was by, children and minors can start to exhibit behaviors and undergo mental and emotional challenges that need to be addressed so they can cope and have practical strategies in their lives to help manage their memory.
Children can have long-term effects from these occurrences, so it’s crucial to have them receive help immediately, so they have readily available coping strategies.
Children and minors may have difficulty trusting adults as they age and could have PTSD. Some other effects children can experience from these crimes can include:
- Nightmares or sleeping difficulties (reliving their trauma over again in a dream)
- Suicide attempts
- Withdrawing themselves
- Angry behavior or outbursts
- Not wanting to be left alone with particular adults
- Having more sexual knowledge for their age than they are supposed to have
If your child confides in you about what has been going on or if you discover it yourself, intervening as quickly as possible is the best thing to do.
The first thing you should do for your child is to have them be examined by a medical professional. Sometimes this can help as medical evidence your case will need to prove the misconduct. It also helps to find any other possible health issues from the abuse.
After this, the best form of treatment and intervention is behavior therapy. Having your child discuss and work through this occurrence with a licensed specialist can help them since these professionals can give them the necessary managing skills.
Other interventions with behavior therapy can be medications to assist with anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms. However, these interventions can be costly. Consult with an attorney to figure out the best way to seek assistance.Who Can File a Sexual Abuse Claim?
In most injury cases, Florida has a timeline for victims being able to file two years after the accident. However, due to Florida’s new statute of limitations, anyone can file a sexual abuse claim whenever they want as long as your claim details the fact that you were 16 or younger at the time of the incident. This means that if you are an adult still suffering from the effects and would like to file a claim, you have that right.
This new statute of limitations has helped individuals that have felt too scared to come forward. It is very difficult for children to seek help for these cases, and young victims often stay silent. This can be because they are scared no one will believe them, they are confused about what has transpired, or the victim may have threatened them with certain possibilities if they were to tell.
The best way to make sure you qualify for a claim is to have substantial evidence to prove your position, especially if you are filing years or decades after the incident has happened.
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Yes, you are allowed to seek compensation in Florida for sexual abuse crimes. The compensation you may recover can be for your pain and suffering or for medical bills associated with the incident.
You can have help in compensation for your medical injuries with these cases through your health insurance coverage. You might be able to receive full or partial assistance for some costs, but if you are not given the amount of assistance you need, your attorney can help you negotiate with your insurance adjuster. Otherwise, you can commence a lawsuit to seek compensation from the defendant.Are Sexual Abuse Claims Difficult to File?
As we mentioned earlier, sexual abuse claims can be one of the most difficult to prosecute. That is because there can be little to no evidence showing the abuse, a lot of years can pass by before victims step forward, and in some instances, it can become a “he said, she said,” case.
That stated, it does not mean all hope is lost if you choose to file. You will go through a process with your attorney named the “discovery period,” where you will work together to collect as much evidence as possible.
One helpful way to have strong evidence is to be medically examined soon after any abuse occurs that is physical. Physical remnants left behind on or in a victim’s body can be preserved and written down in medical records that attorneys can use later.
Another possible source of evidence is a police report that is filed after the victim feels comfortable.
If you are filing a claim much later after the abuse, consult with your attorney about the steps to collecting evidence and what can be considered in your case.How to File a Claim in Florida for Sexual Abuse
The steps to filing a sexual abuse claim in Florida are straightforward and may start with finding the right attorney.
It is well-advised to have a high-quality and experienced attorney on your side to analyze your position and evidence before making a claim. Your attorney will be the responsible professional who will do most of the work for you, including drafting and serving the papers to the defendant.
Once the papers are served, you will go through the discovery period and continue to build your case until the time comes when your lawyer attempts to reach a settlement with the defendant and their attorney.
This step can be difficult for the victim since it requires sitting down with the defendant to hopefully come to an agreement. If no agreement is made or if the defendant does not cooperate, your case will then go to court.How Are Settlements Awarded in Sexual Abuse Claims?
If your case makes it to court, the judge and jury will listen to all the information presented and decide the outcome by reviewing all the evidence to determine what your economic and non-economic losses are.
Economic losses refer to costs that can be totaled up, such as your medical bills. Because of the abuse, you could be compensated if you have outstanding past, current, and future medical bills.
Non-economic damages are for your mental and physical anguish. If you have suffered from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and the inability to live happily, you could also be awarded compensation for this.
To best understand what to expect from your case, have a discussion with your attorney.The Role of a Sexual Abuse Attorney
Trusting someone else in your case can be challenging, but an attorney is always on your side. The role of your sexual abuse attorney is to provide you with legal services to put you in an optimal position while you focus on recovering.Damages to Recover in Sexual Abuse Claims
In sexual abuse claims, the damages you can seek to recover in compensation will likely go towards the victim’s health and punitive damages associated with the aftermath. For instance, you can seek compensation to cover therapy costs or other interventions that you now have to pay for as a result of the act. The suffering and anguish a child experiences is also taken into consideration.
The amount you may be awarded in compensation is also based on several factors. In the most extreme cases, you may be qualified to seek larger settlements, so consult with your attorney to have the best understanding of your case.
After speaking with your attorney, they should be able to indicate what you should expect moving forward. Here is a short list of potential damages you may be able to seek and recover from in sexual abuse claims:
- Mental and physical anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Impact on quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Medical bills (past, current, and present)
- Medical treatments
- Punitive damages for lost trust and situations
Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can offer your family the assistance you need during this difficult time. We understand how emotionally devastating this time can be for your family, which is why we always want to help and keep your best interests in mind.
Our forty years of practicing injury law have given us the tools we need to take the reins and do the work for you while you spend time healing with your family. Our attorneys can collect and analyze all evidence in your claim to give you the best advice for your future to make the correct steps.
To get started, please call us at (561) 800-8000 or fill out our online contact information form so we can reach you. We will schedule a free consultation for you to meet face-to-face with one of our attorneys to hear how we can handle your case and what you can expect.
We have helped past clients recover millions of dollars in damages combined, and although we know compensation is not the first thing on your mind right now, it’s our goal to bring closure and serve justice for you and your family.
Call Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers today to get started with your claim.