If you are considering hiring a Tacoma sexual abuse lawyer to sue the person or organization that hurt you, you will have to ask for a specific amount of money that reflects your losses. Damages available in sex abuse cases include compensation for:
- Physical pain and loss
- Psychological suffering and trauma
- Financial or professional losses
Sex Abuse and Non-economic Damages
“Non-economic” is a catchall term for the physical, emotional, and mental consequences you suffered because of someone else’s actions. In sexual abuse cases, this may include:
Pain and Suffering Due to the Abuse
The abuse may have caused you physical pain or even left you with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that causes upsetting, inconvenient symptoms. In addition, the memory of the abuse may linger for years and could even lead to a diagnosable mental illness.
While some cases, such as those involving STDs, may involve physical disabilities, this category more often refers to mental illnesses that:
- Keep you from making friends, engaging in hobbies, and otherwise enjoying your life
- Frequently cause you to feel sad, helpless, or bad about yourself
- Prevent you from getting or keeping the kinds of jobs you would otherwise qualify for
- Cause you to engage in self-harming behaviors
Abuse-Related Loss of Consortium
Sex abuse can make it difficult for you to have healthy, happy relationships with other people. You might be reluctant to date or find yourself drifting apart from people whose company you once effortlessly enjoyed.
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Sex Abuse and Economic Damages
Even if the abuse occurred years ago, it can still have a big impact on your finances. Economic damages available in sex abuse cases include:
Loss of Earning Capacity Caused by the Abuse
As previously mentioned, one of the consequences of sexual abuse can be difficulty in keeping a job, or you might have to take frequent time off to address your physical or mental health issues.
As a result, your lifetime earnings may be considerably less than if you had never been abused. The abuser should compensate you for lost wages, benefits, bonuses, and promotions.
Abuse-Related Medical Expenses
Depending on the harm you suffered, you might require:
- Diagnostic tests
- Emergency services
Your health insurance may or may not pay for everything you need, but you should not have to worry about paying for care that you only require because of someone else’s abusive behavior.
Moving Expenses Related to the Abuse
In some cases, you may simply want to get as far away from your abuser or places with bad memories as you possibly can. In other cases, you might find your reputation has been altered in ways you do not want to deal with, and relocating is the only way to get a fresh start.
Either way, you could potentially recoup the cost of buying a house, hiring movers, and getting set up in your new residence by filing a lawsuit against the person who forced you to relocate.
How Punitive Damages May Apply to Your Sex Abuse Case
Punitive damages, unlike economic and non-economic damages, are not compensation for a particular loss. Rather, a jury or a court may award punitive damages to punish a liable party who behaved in an especially reckless or egregious manner.
Your right to seek punitive damages is limited and varies from state to state. For example, RCW § 19.86.090 explains the circumstances under which a court may increase the plaintiff’s award in this way. A lawyer can review your case and determine if you qualify.
Getting the Sex Abuse Damages You Deserve
It does not matter if the abuse against you was perpetrated by the clergy, a teacher, or someone in your own family: the fact remains that someone violated your trust and hurt you in ways you neither asked for nor deserved. For that reason, you have the right to seek compensation for everything your abuse-related personal injury has cost you.
Hiring a Sex Abuse Attorney to Protect You
Even if you are already certain you want to file a lawsuit, the process can still be long and stressful. It might help if you have a sex abuse attorney on your side to help you:
- Look for evidence to prove your case
- Speak to the at-fault party and their representatives—you would not have to see your abuser face to face if you do not wish to do so
- Negotiate with the at-fault party or their insurer for a fair settlement
- Represent you in court if your case gets that far (many do not)
- Anticipate and refute the at-fault party’s attempts to defend themselves, blame someone else for their crime, or blame something else for your injuries
How to Prove Your Sex Abuse Case
You and your attorney can sit down to discuss legal strategy early on in your case. The strategy you decide on will depend on many factors, including how long ago the abuse occurred, who the abuser is, and what kinds of damages you are seeking. In all cases, however, you will require proof from as many sources as possible, such as:
- Testimony from loved ones who can talk about the change in your health or behavior
- Testimony from other people who can confirm the at-fault party was abusive and/or that sexual abuse occurred in that environment
- Doctors who diagnosed your injuries and can confirm that they are likely related to the abuse
- Texts, voicemails, emails, or letters between you and the abuser that may shed light on the abusive nature of your relationship
You Deserve Sex Abuse Compensation
No one should ever have to go through what you did. While monetary compensation cannot restore the life you once knew, it can grant you peace of mind in two ways: by giving you the funds to start over and by ensuring that the at-fault party pays for their abuse.
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Sex Abuse Damages Are Available Now
You deserve justice and compensation after suffering sexual abuse. Jackman Law Firm can fight to get you all of the damages available in sex abuse cases, no matter who the at-fault party is. Call us today to find out how our compassionate, upstanding attorneys can assist you with your case.