Settlements and Recovery for Sexual Abuse Cases
Survivors of sexual abuse often experience a myriad of psychological, emotional and mental difficulties. Survivors can file civil actions for monetary damages to compensate them for their injuries. Victims of sexual abuse may simultaneously seek criminal prosecution of their perpetrators. Even if the criminal trial does not yield an arrest or conviction, sexual assault victims can still prevail in a civil lawsuit.
Who Can Be Sued?
The perpetrator of the assault is not the only party who may be liable in a civil lawsuit. Supervising institutions, such as hospitals, schools, churches, and the Boy Scouts League, are responsible for properly supervising their employees, staff and volunteers, and disclosing and responding to claims of sexual abuse. When these institutions fail to properly monitor their subordinates and take corrective action in case of misconduct, they may be found liable for abuse. In most instances, perpetrators of sexual assault do not have the financial means to pay for settlements or verdicts for damages; the supervisory institutions are in a better financial position to adequately compensate victims for their injuries.
Monetary Damages in Sexual Abuse Cases
The amount of recovery for sexual assault is dependent on the circumstances of each particular case. The types of damages that are recoverable include: (i) medical expenses related to the injury, (ii) expenses for psychological injuries, (iii) lost wages, and (iv) physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering. Because sexual assault is an intentional tort, damages can be high in some instances.
Several high-profile cases have resulted in significant recoveries. The U.S. Catholic Church, which has been inundated with new and credible allegations of sexual abuse that occurred decades ago, spent over $300 million in resolving these allegations (with nearly $200 million in settlements) in just one year between June 2017 and June 2018. In the largest known settlement to date for claims of sexual abuse at a University, the accusers of Larry Nassar, the athletic doctor who sexually abused hundreds of female athletes at Michigan State University, reached a $500 million settlement with the University. Significant awards have also been obtained in cases against the Boy Scouts of America and other large institutions.
Survivors of sexual abuse may go to trial or seek a settlement depending on the facts of the case. Some Roman Catholic Dioceses have established a survivors compensation program to compensate accusers for their injuries. The amount paid to individual survivors is determined by the lawyers overseeing the fund and once a payout is made, the individual is barred from bringing litigation in the future.
New Laws Revise Limitations for Sex Abuse Claims
Many victims who were previously barred from bringing actions for sexual abuse because the statute of limitations had expired now have the opportunity to sue their abusers and obtain compensation for their injuries. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have passed amendments to their statute of limitations laws in 2019 that allow survivors of childhood sex abuse to bring claims against their abusers. More states plan to ratify similar bills. These amendments include granting a one-time revival period for claims, increasing the maximum age for initiating claims, and/or extending the time limit for actions based on adult sexual abuse.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, Levy Konigsberg can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. With our proven track-record of recovering millions of dollars in sex abuse cases, you can feel assured that we have the experience and knowledge to help you achieve the best outcome possible. Please call today for a free and confidential consultation with attorneys at our firm specializing in sexual abuse cases. Please call 1-800-225-9825 or submit an email inquiry above.