Sex abuse of a child is a horrible matter. No one ever wants to think that it can happen to their child, but sadly, it is an all too common occurrence in modern America. At Shapiro & Sternlieb, LLC, in New Jersey, we help the victims of child sexual abuse seek the justice they deserve.
Understanding Criminal vs Civil Court
In child sex abuse cases, there are two different types of court proceedings. There may be criminal charges brought by the state in a criminal action, and as a victim or parents of the victim, you may file a civil lawsuit against the abuser to hold them liable for the abuse.
If charges are filed for a criminal proceeding, the results of that proceeding can play a part in your civil case against the abuser. For example, a criminal conviction can make it easier to prove liability in the civil case. We can help you understand the complexities of these cases and help you make the right decision about moving forward with a civil lawsuit.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Child Sexual Abuse?
The obvious answer is the abuser. He or she will be named as the defendant in a civil court case. However, anyone who was in a position to prevent the abuse or had a legal obligation to do so can also be held liable in a civil lawsuit. This may include:
- Parents (if the alleged abuser is a minor)
- Daycare providers
- Churches or religious organizations
- Schools or their employees
- Employer of the alleged abuser
What Must Be Proved In a Sex Abuse Lawsuit?
In a lawsuit alleging abuse, as the plaintiff, you must show the extent of the harm suffered, which can include:
- Physical injuries
- Emotional trauma
- Other short-term and long-term effects of the abuse
The abuser’s liability must be proven “by a preponderance of the evidence,” which is a lower bar than in a criminal case. We must prove that it was “more likely than not” that the abuser committed the alleged abuse.
Should You File a Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?
This is a very personal question that only you can answer with the help of an experienced lawyer. During a civil lawsuit, you will be asked to revisit painful memories of the abuse and open up your life to be scrutinized in detail by the opposing party’s attorneys.
The first step in deciding whether a civil case is the right course of action for you and your family is to sit down with one of our experienced lawyers to discuss your case and fully understand your legal options.
Call Shapiro & Sternlieb Today for Your Consultation
If you or your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, you need an experienced attorney by your side to help you navigate the legal system and seek the justice you deserve. Contact Shapiro & Sternlieb, LLC, today online or call 732-617-8050 for your free legal consultation. We represent clients throughout Newark, Jersey City, and the surrounding areas of New Jersey.