Sexual abuse isn’t always one person’s act of wrongdoing. In some instances, entire institutions may be complicit in large-scale sexual abuse.
Have you experienced such abuse? You may be eligible for compensation if so. Because there may be others who share your experience, you might take legal action by filing a claim or lawsuit.
At Jurewitz Law Group Injury and Accident Lawyers, we understand addressing a painful memory from your past is both challenging and necessary. Our Southern California sexual abuse lawyers are on hand to help you pursue the justice you may be owed. Call us today at (855) GET-ROSS for your free consultation.
What You Need to Know About Assembly Bill 218
Assembly Bill 218 is a 2019 California law amending earlier laws regarding childhood sexual abuse. It modifies the law by expanding the definition of childhood sexual abuse in California, expanding the timeframe allowed for filing a claim, and renaming the act “childhood sexual assault.”
Significant changes the new law has prompted include:
- Giving victims more time to take legal action: Under the previous law, a victim of childhood sexual assault in California had to take legal action by the time they were 26. Or, if they discovered a psychological injury in adulthood that likely resulted from childhood sexual assault, they had three years from the time of such discovery to file a claim or lawsuit. Now, individuals have until the age of 40 to take legal action in California childhood sexual assault cases. If a person discovers a psychological injury in adulthood that may stem from their past abuse, they have five years from the date of that discovery to take action.
- Giving victims access to more compensation: Under the new law, victims may be eligible to receive triple the damages they would have previously been eligible to receive from certain defendants. They may be eligible for triple damages in cases where parties covered up the sexual abuse of a minor.
Were you the victim of childhood sexual assault? Did you fail to take legal action because you believed the deadline for doing so had passed? Depending on the circumstances, Assembly Bill 218 may grant you a means of seeking compensation.
Compensation Available in a Southern California Sexual Abuse Case
Every sexual abuse case is unique. No one can tell you what type of compensation you may be eligible to receive without knowing the details of your case.
You may be entitled to receive compensation for financial losses resulting from sexual abuse. For example, maybe you developed mental health conditions as a result of your experiences, and perhaps you underwent treatment for these conditions. Maybe they were so severe they prevented you from working. If so, you might receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.
You might also be owed compensation for certain subjective losses. These are losses without exact dollar values. An example would be the pain and anguish you might have endured in the aftermath of your experience.
In some sexual abuse cases that go to court, juries also award punitive damages. Unlike other types of damages, punitive damages don’t serve to compensate a plaintiff for a specific loss. Instead, they punish a defendant for egregious behavior. The aim of punitive damages is to discourage the defendant from engaging in such behavior again.
Potential Evidence in a Sexual Abuse Case
You may be eligible for compensation if you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault. The evidence necessary to show you’re eligible for compensation can depend on the specifics of your experience. Common forms of evidence in sexual abuse or assault cases include:
- Medical records
- Therapy notes
- Personal journals
- Correspondence with abusers or other parties
- Witness testimony
- Expert testimony
Consider reviewing your case with a California sexual abuse lawyer. They can explain your legal options and assist you in gathering the evidence you need to strengthen your claim.
Forms of Sexual Abuse in California
Various acts may qualify as sexual abuse in California. Examples include:
- Rape or any other forced sexual touching
- Photographing, filming, or otherwise recording an individual in a sexual manner without their consent
- Sexual harassment
- Using intimidation or coercion to facilitate sex acts
- Childhood sexual assault
That’s not necessarily an exhaustive list. If you’re not sure whether your experience qualifies as illegal sexual abuse in California, meet with an attorney. They can determine whether you have grounds to file a claim based on the nature of your experience.
What Is a Sexual Abuse Mass Tort Case?
Sometimes, a single entity can victimize many individuals in a similar way. For example, maybe members of a particular institution, like a religious institution or university, abuse numerous people over the course of years. Maybe the institution contributes to the abuse by covering it up.
Many people might thus be eligible for compensation in these circumstances. They could potentially file claims as part of a mass tort case.
A mass tort case isn’t the same as a class action lawsuit. In a class action case, all the plaintiffs pursue compensation through one lawsuit. That means they all receive one settlement or award of damages and must split the money they receive. This can result in the plaintiffs receiving only small amounts of money individually.
A mass tort case is different. When you submit a claim or lawsuit in a mass tort case, you are still an individual party instead of being one of many plaintiffs. Often, in mass torts, the courts will group similar cases together to handle them more efficiently.
Contact a Southern California Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Revisiting a painful experience involving sexual abuse isn’t pleasant. However, taking legal action could be key to holding the parties who harmed you accountable. Doing so could also protect others from becoming victims in the future.
You don’t have to navigate the process of seeking justice on your own. At Jurewitz Law Group Injury and Accident Lawyers, our Southern California sexual abuse lawyers can guide you through the process with compassion and dedication. Learn more about what we may do for you by contacting us online today or calling us at (855) GET-ROSS for a free case review.