Sexual abuse is often a crime of opportunity—the perpetrator is someone close to their victim or has a position of authority over them. That is why many victims in Arizona choose to stay silent instead of bringing their abusers to justice. However, this only worsens the situation, as sex predators can repeat their actions and harm others.
Though it might be scary, you should still come forward if you were a victim of sexual violence. Doing so also allows you to seek fair compensation from your abuser and other liable parties. Moreover, it gives other survivors more confidence to speak out against abusers, even if they are members of or leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.
When you are ready, you may want to hire an Arizona Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullin Law Firm. Our team of legal professionals may be able to help you navigate the civil proceedings. Call (800) 219-9622 for an initial consultation.
Civil Lawsuits in Sex Abuse Cases
Those who commit sexual offenses—regardless of their religion—are subject to prosecution. Upon their conviction, they will receive punishment, potentially including stiff fines and jail or prison terms. However, punishment does not necessarily include compensating their victims for inflicted harm.
Fortunately, personal injury law addresses this gap. It allows victims to seek compensation for injuries suffered. With a civil claim, the court will award damages if you can prove the offender’s liability in the incident through substantial evidence. Negligence is the commonly used basis for most personal injury cases, but with crimes like sex offenses, the applicable underlying theory is intentional wrongdoing.
Bear in mind that a civil lawsuit is independent of any criminal charges the government brings. A victim can still seek and receive monetary payout even if the court acquits the perpetrator of their sexual abuse crime—as long as there is proof that they should be held responsible for the repercussions of their wrongful conduct.
As such, you may wish to hire an Arizona Mormon Church sex abuse attorney. They may guide you through the civil proceedings and ensure that your claim becomes actionable.
Awarded Damages Differ for Abuse Victims
According to the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (AZCJC), sexual abuse survivors in Arizona can receive financial assistance from the government. Under this victim compensation program, crime victims may recoup economic losses directly resulting from being victimized, including treatments for physical injuries and mental anguish. A request for compensation requires board approval after submitting necessary paperwork, such as application forms, police reports, and billing or invoices. However, there is no guarantee of a payout or how much it will be—it all depends on the board’s decision.
Claims rejection can be a big blow to the victims and may even slow down their recovery from the traumatizing experience. However, a civil lawsuit may help a victim gain compensation they can use towards their treatment. In many sexual abuse cases, victims require long-term care for their physical and mental injuries. While some will recover, others are scarred for life.
The amount of civil damages varies for every case, and it may be helpful to let your legal representative estimate it. Aside from medical expenses incurred, they will also consider the cost of future treatments, lost wages, and future income losses if you cannot work while recovering from the incident. Sex abuse victims may also seek compensation for their pain and suffering.
An Arizona Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may aim to ensure that you get an appropriate settlement for your injury. Our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis—we only get paid after winning the case.
Preserving Your Rights to Compensation
Even if a crime happened and led to your injuries, many factors can still affect your civil claim. There are a few steps to take in protecting your rights to compensation.
Seek Medical Attention
Injuries are evidence of harm and must be the direct result of the perpetrator’s actions. The only way to establish this fact is through a comprehensive medical examination.
Retain an Attorney
It is not always easy to remain objective after what you experienced, and being emotional can significantly impact your claim. Instead of representing yourself, you may want to work with an attorney who will represent your best interests.
Although the burden of proof is lower in civil courts, substantial evidence is still crucial. Keep your medical records, police reports, witnesses’ statements, and testimonies from experts to strengthen your claim.
Time Limits for Bringing a Claim
Arizona Revised Statutes §12-514 sets the statute of limitations for sex abuse crimes against children in Arizona. If a clergy member abused you when you were a minor under the age of 18, you have until you reach age 30 to file a lawsuit against the abuser and/or the organization that employed or enabled the abuser.
Usually, the court will dismiss your case once the deadline expires, even if you have an actionable claim. There are still rare cases when the state extends the filing period to give victims the chance to pursue their abusers. Different time limits may also apply if the abuse occurred when you were an adult. Your lawyer can help you understand which deadlines are applicable in your unique case.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
When you are ready to face your perpetrator, you may wish to speak to the team for an Arizona Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Our legal team will aim to ensure that you receive just compensation for injuries suffered due to another party’s wrongful actions. We will investigate the incident and do our best to build a strong case with concrete evidence.
To initiate a claim, get in touch at (800) 219-9622 or fill out a free case evaluation form online.