Victims of sex abuse or assault, including victims of child molestation, are often unaware of their civil legal rights. There’s a lot of media attention about criminal cases. Media attention on civil cases often focuses on large scale cases like the Sandusky Penn State case or the massive Catholic church priest abuse cases around the country. Oftentimes, victims assume that if their situation doesn’t fall within one of these types of large cases, they are out of luck. The reality is that victims can seek justice in the civil courts against both the criminal perpetrators of the assault or abuse in addition to other parties such as employers. For example, a woman who is sexually assaulted by her doctor may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the doctor as well as the hospital which employed him.
Under the laws of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the plaintiff in a civil sex abuse or assault case has the legal right to seek compensation for any losses and damages which occurred as a result of the criminal conduct. Common claims for compensation include:
- medical bills,
- therapy/counseling treatment bills,
- lost wages, and
- pain and suffering.
While the economic losses and damages from medical bills or lost wages can be calculated fairly easily, pain and suffering is not so easy to calculate. That’s because pain and suffering is different for everyone, especially when it comes to sex abuse or assault cases.
Pain & Suffering: Individual Differences
Everyone reacts to trauma differently. When it comes to sex abuse or assault, there are wide variations in how the criminal conduct affects the individual. That’s because the extent of the abuse or assault often correlates to pain and suffering. Individuals who experience prolonged abuse, such as in a child sex abuse case, may suffer in ways that are almost impossible to describe. Some individuals might suffer from debilitating anxiety or depression while others may turn to drugs and alcohol. Trauma affects people differently.
Evidence of Pain & Suffering
When proceeding with a sex abuse or assault lawsuit in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, it is important to gather sufficient evidence of pain and suffering. Interviews with family, friends, significant others, etc. are important. Oftentimes, family members and friends can provide great insight into how a traumatic event affected their loved ones. If necessary, it is important to present supporting testimony at trial.
Medical or Mental Health Treatment
Records from medical and mental health treatment providers can also provide a detailed look at how an individual responded to a traumatic event like sex abuse or assault. Oftentimes, such providers will write notes about statements made during treatment, physical observations of the individual, etc. These records can provide a window into how the individual was affected by the abuse or assault.
Sex Assault Victims Law Firm – New Jersey & Pennsylvania
Our firm has handled dozens of sex abuse and assault cases throughout the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Firm founder Brian Kent is recognized as a “Top Personal Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia” and is a former prosecutor. Contact the office for a free consultation. 215.399.9255
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.