Compassionate Legal Representation for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Abuse
Victims of sexual assault need compassionate advocacy and support. They also deserve the opportunity to expose their abusers, attain closure, and move forward with their lives. Life after such trauma can be riddled with hardships— with individuals suffering from anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, intimacy issues, and substance abuse problems. Studies have shown that minors coerced into sexual encounters can develop lasting emotional, behavioral, and social adjustment issues that linger into adulthood.
The legal team of Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, recognizes the harm suffered by survivors and has the experience to help victims seek compensation through the courts. A Dallas sexual assault victim’s attorney will advocate for your rights, and fight for the maximum recovery possible. Our attorneys handle civil sexual assault cases against institutions and organizations that, through negligence or willful misconduct, allowed or facilitated the abuse.
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Sexual Abuse Attorneys in Dallas
Civil lawsuits based on rape, or sexual contact without consent, are about much more than monetary payment. This type of litigation is an effective means of holding perpetrators accountable while helping victims achieve closure and recovery. Here at Crowe Arnold & Majors, we are steadfast in the pursuit of justice for victims of sexual violence, exploitation, and sexual assault.
You can improve your chances of a successful resolution by enlisting a Dallas personal injury lawyer well-equipped to handle the unique legal challenges of sexual assault claims brought against schools, churches, and other institutions.
We handle a broad range of sexual assault claims relating to:
- Child sexual abuse
- Teen sexual abuse
- Workplace sexual abuse
- Sexual abuse by clergy
- Sexual assault in schools
- Sexual abuse in youth organizations
- Nursing home sexual abuse
- Campus sexual assault
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What a Civil Sex Abuse/Assault Case Is
Sexual abuse and sexual assault have specific legal definitions in civil cases. For example, sexual assault encompasses a broad range of nonconsensual sexual contact, such as by force or coercion, if the victim has diminished capacity, such as being a child, disabled, or impaired.
Unlike in a criminal case, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, or “more likely than not.” This is significantly lower than the standard of proof than the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
Damages Available in a Sexual Abuse Civil Lawsuit
The circumstances of every sexual assault case are unique. Quantifying the physical, economic, and emotional toll of sexual exploitation of a child or adult is a complex task, highlighting the need for exceptional legal representation.
Some of the damages recoverable in a sexual abuse/assault lawsuit may include:
- Medical expenses – Many victims will require lifelong counseling to cope with their abuse. Ongoing psychological therapy and counseling can be included in the damages.
- Lost wages – The psychological trauma resulting from abuse can result in losing time at work due to factors like the symptoms of PTSD. When the abusive incident prevents the survivor from working, this can be included.
- Future income loss – Many victims of sexual abuse suffer psychological injuries that may not prevent them from working entirely, but still have a negative impact on their income. Poor job performance and chronic unemployment are common effects linked to sexual abuse.
- Pain and suffering – Physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress. This can include not being able to participate in activities and having to make lifestyle changes, in addition to emotional issues like depression.
- Diminished quality of life – Refers to the negative impact the abuse has had on a person’s general health and well-being and their ability to enjoy normal aspects of everyday life. Examples include diminished capacity to feel happiness or comfort, as well as damage to emotional and mental health. A person in this situation may lose interest in hobbies, social activities, and other pursuits that were previously important.
- Loss of companionship and consortium – Often, a spouse will suffer indirectly because of the continued effect of the abuse. Some of this, such as loss of companionship and consortium, can be calculated into damages.
- Punitive damages – Texas courts may award punitive damages in cases that display egregiously negligent behavior to punish the defendant. This can include schools, the Boy Scouts, religious institutions, or other organizations that assisted with or covered up the abusive incident(s).
Sexual Abuse of Children and Youth
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, both male and female youth are exposed to sexual victimization at an early age. Over 43% of women reported their first rape or attempted rape prior to age 18, and 51% of men experienced their first sexual assault as minors as well.
Offenders are frequently in positions of authority and may employ threats, intimidation, and other behaviors to keep their victims from speaking out.
Choose the team of sexual assault lawyers Dallas locals know they can depend on for caring, dedicated service. Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, offers powerful representation to victims of institutional abuse. A caring personal injury attorney will investigate your case and ensure your voice is heard.
What Do I Need to File a Sexual Assault Lawsuit?
A lawsuit against an individual or organization that was either involved with or complicit in the abuse will require evidence to show that this was more likely than not to have occurred, also known as the “preponderance of the evidence” standard used in sexual assault lawsuits. This can include physical evidence, testimony from witnesses, and medical records. In the case of youth organization sexual abuse or clergy sexual abuse, this can consist of records such as schedules or proof of employment with institutions.
To move forward with a case, a Dallas sexual assault attorney would need information such as:
- Name(s) of perpetrator(s) and enabler(s)
- The date(s) of the incident(s)
- Available evidence, such as witnesses
- Whether a report was filed with the police
- Name(s) of the victim(s)
Additional information, such as records regarding the perpetrators, may need to be collected. An experienced attorney should be able to help you gather and organize your evidence, as well as look for more as additional questions arise while building a case.
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Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Cases in Texas
The statute of limitations for a claim is the time in which it can be brought. Should a claim be raised after the statute of limitations has run, it will likely be dismissed.
When the Victim is a Minor
Different offenses have different statutes of limitations, and some have none, allowing victims to bring lawsuits at any time. Texas has recently doubled the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse to bring a lawsuit to 30 years after their 18th birthday. This applies to institutions that may be liable or involved. Unfortunately, this will not revive a cause of action that expired under the previous statute of limitations. However, it will allow many victims to approach the legal process in their own time.
This extension is particularly helpful in these cases, considering how symptoms of PTSD such as memory issues and avoidance behaviors may interfere with filing within the shorter statute of limitations.
When the Victim is an Adult
For adult victims of sexual assault, such as victims of sexual abuse at work, the statute of limitations is shortened to 5 years.
It’s not always clear how new laws extending the statute of limitations will impact your right to file a claim. Even if you believe that your window to file a claim might have expired, it’s best to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to help evaluate your legal options. Our compassionate Dallas attorneys for sexual abuse victims have helped others who have endured the pain and turmoil of abuse find justice, and we are ready to hear your story. All initial consultations are completely confidential and free of charge. Call anytime to see how we can help.
Consult with a Dallas Sexual Assault Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been subject to assault or abuse from a sexual predator, report the incident to authorities, seek medical attention, and reach out to Crowe Arnold & Majors for dedicated legal counsel. By aligning yourself with the right personal injury lawyer, you can hold abusers and their enablers accountable in a sexual abuse case, as well as secure access to resources that may be required in the healing process.
Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, provides compassionate, powerful advocacy for survivors of sexual assault throughout North Texas. Contact our Dallas office for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights to civil litigation. Our talented attorneys have procured over $100 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients and are ready to put our resources and expertise to work for you.
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