Rhea Sexual Abuse Lawyer

One of the more difficult things that a person may be forced to endure is sexual abuse. Whether the abuse occurred when a person is an adult or as a child, the ramifications, and damages suffered can permanently change a person’s life.

The abuser should face criminal prosecution for their actions. But this will only serve to punish the perpetrator through jail sentences. Victims of sexual assault also have the option of pursuing a civil remedy through the courts.

While this will not result in any enhanced jail time for the defendant, civil suits can provide financial compensation for the victims and bring some closure to the event. The Rhea sexual abuse lawyer represents individuals in civil cases against their abusers. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you are able.

Standard of Proof in Civil Cases

All forms of sexual abuse that could result in a civil case are also punishable in criminal court. It is important to remember that while the facts that lead to both a criminal trial and a civil suit may be identical, the outcomes may be very different. This is because a criminal trial and civil lawsuit carry different standards of proof. A Rhea sexual abuse lawyer can prepare potential clients for both cases, should they choose to file a claim.

Many are familiar with the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt as it applies to criminal charges. Essentially, a jury must find that defendant is guilty to within 99 percent certainty to convict. In civil cases, the standard of proof changes dramatically. A jury must only find that it is more likely than not that the defendant did what the plaintiff said he did. In this way, even if a defendant is acquitted in a criminal case, the individual may still be held liable in a civil claim.

What Does Conviction in Criminal Cases Mean?

If the defendant is convicted in criminal court, a plaintiff’s case will be much easier, as courts will not re-litigate many matters that have already been decided by courts. The recent case of Bowen ex. rel. Doe v. William E. Arnold, Jr. held that in a case where a man was convicted of sexual abuse in a criminal setting, he could not reargue the same fact pattern in a civil case.

Defining Tort Laws

Despite the egregious nature of sexual abuse, there is no direct cause of action labeled as “Sexual Abuse” that allows plaintiffs to file a civil suit. Instead, plaintiffs in sexual abuse cases must find other legal principles that apply to the conduct of the defendant.

Commonly known as torts, causes of action are keys that are prescribed by courts that allow plaintiffs to file lawsuits under specific categories of law. These may include assault, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Depending upon the facts of someone’s case, a Rhea sexual abuse lawyer will determine under which tort a plaintiff can file a claim for maximum effect.

Statute of Limitations

One other aspect of the law to remember is the statute of limitations. This is a time limit that a plaintiff must satisfy for their case to be successful. Tennessee law treats allegations of sexual abuse the same as all other allegations of personal injury. The time limit to pursue sexual abuse cases is only one year from the date of injury. However, if the plaintiff is or was a minor at the time of the abuse, the limit stretches to three years after the discovery of the abuse according to TN Code 28-3-116.

If you or a family member has been subjected to sexual abuse, your first step should be to contact the police. Not only is this the only way to initiate a criminal trial against the defendant, but also provides valuable evidence for a civil suit. A Rhea sexual abuse lawyer can listen to your story with compassion and patience and will select the proper strategy to get you the compensation that you deserve. Regardless of the outcome of any criminal charges, the victim of sexual abuse retains the right to seek damages in a civil suit. However, time is extremely limited to file a claim so do not delay, contact a Rhea sexual abuse attorney.