There is nothing more devastating to a child and their family than discovering that their child has been sexually abused. This rocks the very core of the family.
Suddenly, nothing seems normal. Nothing you believed in is rooted. You have to take a mental and emotional inventory to know where to begin.
Step Away From The Computer
We all love technology. However, when you are dealing with legal matters, do yourself a favor and step away from the computer. Every state and every case is different.
An untrained eye can easily misunderstand what the law allows. In some cases, there is a statute of limitations. Most states allow 3-5 years from the time the child discovered or from the time discovery should have been detected to file a lawsuit.
But, this is not always the case. Sometimes there are circumstances that change the rule, and legal action can be taken well after the statute of limitations.
Do not assume you know the law and the exceptions to the law. Please, call a qualified attorney. Let someone who is trained to fight for your child lead the way. You will have your hands full getting them to a place of wellness.
Who Can Sue?
The child (usually represented by a parent or guardian), and the parent, legal guardian, and biological parents can sue. The civil suit is seeking compensation for physical, emotional, and mental harm.
What If They Are Found Not Guilty In A Criminal Case?
In our criminal legal system, a person must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before they can be found guilty. In a case where there were no witnesses, and the victim is a child, it is hard to meet those standards.
However, a civil suit has different guidelines. In a civil suit, you must show that it is more likely than not that the person committed the crimes.
There are times when guilt cannot be proven in the criminal courts. However, if there is enough evidence to win a civil suit, you can hold the abuser accountable for their actions. This is a huge step toward healing for the child who was hurt.
How Does It Work?
It is highly recommended that you seek the services of an attorney to walk through this process with you.
To begin a civil suit, the child and/or their parents or legal guardians file a complaint with the court. The complaint is basically seeking the court to make them pay for their actions.
The accused has 10-days to answer the complaint, and at that time they can file a counterclaim. The accused has the right to ask questions (that are not part of privileged information) and to see what proof the accuser has against them.
If the people involved are seeking resolution of the situation, this is usually the time that the attorney negotiates to find a solution that satisfies the victim. If not, they prepare to go to the court system.
There are nominal filing fees for filing a complaint and for filing a counterclaim. There are also time limits and rules that must be followed. A sex abuse of minors attorney in Coeur d’Alene will be your best advocate in this process.