The pain that comes along with being a molestation survivor is not always physical, but psychological wounds can be left behind—wounds that never close. For some survivors, just getting on with daily life is a struggle each day, and nightmares await them every time they go to sleep. Molestation can leave victims with depression and anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder, requiring years or even a lifetime of therapy to address. You do not have to fight these demons alone. If you live in Los Angeles and were molested, a Manhattan Beach molestation victim lawyer at Okabe & Haushalter can help you learn more about your rights as a victim in civil court.
Whether you have filed formal criminal charges against your abuser or not, you have the right to file a suit in civil court. Many molestation victims do not pursue criminal cases for a variety of reasons, but that does not preclude them from being able to seek damages in civil court. Furthermore, if a third party’s negligence enabled your abuser to commit their crime, that person could be held liable for their negligence in the civil court and may be required to pay damages to you in the form of monetary compensation.
Rather than being focused on putting the perpetrator of a crime behind bars, the civil court scrutinizes liability and negligence in their court cases. Judges and juries in civil courtrooms are not out to determine whether a person is guilty or innocent of a crime, but rather, whether or not they are liable for alleged damages. Being liable for damages means being partly responsible for those damages, and a civil court ruling will often result in the liable or negligent party being made to pay out money for the damages incurred as a result of their negligence.
For your attorney to successfully pursue a civil claim against your abuser or other liable parties, they will need to prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence. This means the evidence presented at trial against them should prove that the defendant is more likely than not responsible for the molestation you endured.
In the civil court, an abuser may be held liable for the suffering their molestation caused to their victims. However, in some cases, another party may be held liable. For example, if the perpetrator was a camp counselor who abused campers and the hiring team did not run a thorough background check and the camp counselor had a prior conviction for a similar offense, the owners of the camp could be considered negligent and thus, partly responsible for the abuse that happened on their property.
When pursuing a civil claim against your abuser and other liable parties, you have the right to be compensated for every loss. Although no amount of compensation will change what you have been through, if you can recover compensation for the various ways your life has been affected by the abuse you suffered, you may be able to secure a bright future.
With that being said, you have the right to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages have financial values while non-economic damages do not. However, it will be up to your attorney to accurately calculate the value of your non-economic damages so they can be included in your civil claim. Some of the more common types of damages that are awarded to molestation victims include:
It is also possible that you could be awarded punitive damages under California Civil Code 3294. Here, the judge and jury have the authority to award punitive damages if they find it necessary and appropriate to punish the defendant for egregious, reprehensible, or grossly negligent conduct.
Under California law, if you are filing a civil claim against the individual or entity responsible for the molestation you endured, you will need to get your claim filed before the statute of limitations expires.
For cases of this nature, you will generally have up to two years to get your claim filed. However, the exact date the statute of limitations expires may not be clear. If you are unsure when the statute of limitations will run out for your case, it is imperative that you get in touch with your attorney.
Failure to file your civil claim before the statute of limitations deadline will result in the dismissal of your case. This means you will no longer have the opportunity to recover total compensation for your suffering.
If you hope to avoid the statute of limitations having an adverse impact on your ability to get justice, make sure to retain an experienced and knowledgeable Manhattan Beach molestation victim attorney’s help.
You can get justice for the suffering you have endured by pursuing a civil case. If you were victimized in the L.A. area, talk to a Manhattan Beach molestation victim lawyer at Okabe & Haushalter to find out more about how you can benefit from bringing your case to civil court.
You could be qualified to receive damages in the form of financial compensation as an abuse survivor, so don’t wait another moment. Contact the attorneys at Okabe and Haushalter today. You can schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation when you fill out our secured contact form or call our office at 310-430-7799.