Sexual abuse is one of the most difficult experiences a person can face. Any unwelcome sexual touching or violence can have a profound impact not just on your physical health but also on your emotional well-being. Depending on the circumstances, the perpetrator may face severe criminal penalties upon conviction. However, you may also be able to seek compensation from them through a civil lawsuit.
A Houma and Terrebonne Parish sexual abuse lawyer could help you take legal action against the person who harmed you. Our compassionate attorneys could provide legal guidance and support through every step of your case.
What May Warrant a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?
There is no state law specifically allowing individuals to file civil lawsuits for sexual abuse. However, survivors may bring cases forward alleging a series of other crimes that also contain a sexual component.
For example, touching someone in any manner without their permission is an example of assault. If the unwanted contact was on that person’s genitals, it would be an aggravating factor that may increase the potential award in a civil trial. Similar concepts apply to other criminal acts, including:
- Illegal confinement
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
A sexual abuse attorney in the parish seat of Terrebonne could explain the basis for these lawsuits under state law. They could then take the lead in investigating the incident and obtaining the evidence necessary to pursue a case.
What is the Time Limit to Pursue a Sexual Assault Case?
Under Louisiana Civil Code § 3492, individuals have one year from the date of an injury to demand compensation in civil court. This is a short period of time, especially in situations involving sexual abuse, where coming forward can be a complex and traumatic experience.
There may be exceptions to this rule, such as when a defendant is facing criminal prosecution connected to the event. An experienced lawyer could help a plaintiff keep track of the filing deadline for their case.
The Effects of Criminal Cases on Civil Compensation
There is no doubt that all examples of sexual abuse that result in personal injuries are also violations of the state’s criminal code. This means that survivors of sexual assault should contact law enforcement as soon as possible after the event. If the state prosecutes the offender, the survivor should cooperate with police and prosecutors to the best of their ability.
The outcome of a criminal case can significantly impact a related civil demand for compensation. Under the legal concept known as res judicata, if a criminal court determines that an assault occurred, a defendant cannot argue that the event never took place in a later civil case.
As a result, a criminal conviction can be strong evidence of liability in a civil lawsuit. A local attorney could determine if the outcome of a criminal case could strengthen an individual’s civil sexual assault case.
Reach Out to a Houma and Terrebonne Parish Sexual Abuse Attorney
Instances of sexual abuse have the potential to impact every aspect of your life. Aside from the possible physical injuries, you may also experience significant emotional and psychological trauma. You have the right to seek compensation from the perpetrator to cover all your economic and non-economic damages. However, handling a legal claim on your own can be difficult, especially if you are still recovering from the event.
A Houma and Terrebonne Parish sexual abuse lawyer could help you hold the attacker liable for their actions. Reach out to us today to get started on your case.