Bradley County Sexual Abuse Lawyer

People who have been forced to endure the physically and emotionally devastating experiences of sexual abuse can be both confused and scared. Simply taking the first step towards justice and contacting the police takes courage.

But regardless of the outcome of any criminal proceedings against the abuser, you have the right to pursue a civil case. A civil case is the only route available for you to seek monetary compensation from your abuser and must be initiated and pursued by you alone, and a compassionate and capable attorney.

A Bradley County sexual abuse lawyer can work you to prosecute your case and bring your abuser to civil justice.

Tennessee Laws Concerning Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is one area of law that is covered by both criminal and civil law. Normally, these two branches of the law are separate and criminal charges and civil cases are pursued entirely independently.

Criminal cases can only result in punishment being levied against the defendant in the form of fine and prison time. While the District Attorney may certainly press charges according to the will of the abused, they are powerless to force the defendant to pay any compensation to the victim.

Civil Cases Are the Key to Recovering Compensation

For compensation, the plaintiff is required to initiate a case in civil court and can be assisted by a Bradley County sexual abuse lawyer. This is entirely separate from the criminal case but they do intersect in one key area.

In a recent court case, Bowen ex. rel. Doe v. William E. Arnold, Jr. the court held that when a criminal court finds that an abuser is guilty of a crime, the abuser cannot reargue that abuse in a civil case that alleges the same abuse. Therefore, potential plaintiffs in sexual abuse cases are advised to wait to initiate a claim in civil court until the criminal case is concluded.

Standards of Proof

However, even if the abuser is acquitted in criminal court, they may still be liable in civil court. This is because the two courts have different standards of proof.

While a criminal court requires that a defendant be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, civil courts require only that the defendant be more likely than not responsible for the alleged acts. Because of this, a not-guilty finding in criminal court may not be a bar to recovery in civil court.

Statute of Limitations in Sexual Abuse Cases

Potential plaintiffs in these cases must also remember the statute of limitations. This time limit requires that all plaintiffs file their civil claims within one year from the date of injury according to TN Code 28-3-104, but may extend to two years if the alleged conduct is a criminal violation.

This time limit stretches to three years if the plaintiff is a minor, or was a child at the time of the abuse. That is why it is important to work with a Bradley County sexual abuse attorney that can help individuals pursue justice within that time limit.

Working With a Bradley County Sexual Abuse Attorney

The first thing that all victims of sexual abuse should do is contact the police. Not only will this protect the victim from further abuse, but it will also initiate criminal proceedings against the abuser. A criminal conviction will make a civil case much simpler and begins the process for justice.

A Bradley County sexual abuse lawyer can represent you in your civil case against your abuser, enabling you to obtain monetary compensation that the criminal courts are powerless to provide. Your attorney can stand by you with both compassion and tenacity to hold your abusers responsible in civil court.