Personal injury law cases, including child sexual abuse cases, are based on causes of action. A cause of action is a legal precedent or facts that can serve as the basis for a case. For example, a company that fails to honor a contract under the cause of action breach of contract.
There are a variety of different causes of action in child sexual abuse cases. This provides a wide basis for building a case against an abuser making it more likely that victims can recover compensation in a civil trial. If you think that your situation fits a cause of action for a child sexual abuse case, consult a lawyer to see if a case can be built around it.
Causes of Action
Causes of action give you the basis of a lawsuit, and child sexual abuse (CSA) cases can have multiple causes of action associated with a single case. There is not a cause of action specifically related to CSA like there is in a criminal case. However, a lawyer can use several causes to build a strong case. These causes include:
- Assault: Assault is a threat to cause harm to someone. Many of the threatening things that abusers say can be considered assault.
- Battery: Battery is the physical injury caused to someone. For example, an abuser commits battery if he hits you. This can also apply to inappropriate touching and similar offenses.
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress: This cause is based on the emotional stress created by the situation. If the abuser intended to cause emotional distress, then this cause can be used in a trial.
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress: This cause works when the abuser did not intend to cause emotional stress. For example, an abuser that claims that he did not think he was causing problems for the victim as opposed to an abuser who understood that his actions would cause a problem and continued to do it anyway.
- False imprisonment: Anyone holding someone against their will counts as false imprisonment.
There are many other causes of action that can be used that are not included on this list. The causes of action used as the basis for trials are defined by the laws of each state and can vary depending on where you live. The best way to determine if you have a case is to consult a child sexual assault lawyer.
Settlement vs. Trial
Many victims refuse to report abuse because they fear going to trial. It can be intimidating for victims, but it should not stop them from coming forward. One reason for this is that a trial in civil court is unlikely. The majority of civil lawsuits are settled out of court.
It can take a long time for a trial to start since the legal system is backed up with cases. This usually leads to a settlement being offered to the victim to end the case. Your lawyer can review the settlement to see if it is both fair and adequate to cover your needs. Then, you can decide to accept the settlement or not. Some victims of child sexual abuse are offered settlements as a way of protecting organizations that can afford large settlement offers. However, you are not obligated to take a deal if you do not want to. It is up to you as the victim to decide which option is best.
Prevalence of Child Sexual Assault
Child sexual assault is, unfortunately, more common than most people think. This was certainly true of the Catholic Church for decades. The National Institutes of Health studied child sexual assault and determined that it is not well known because the victims tend to not report it. This makes it difficult to keep accurate numbers on how prevalent it actually is. However, the revelations about the Catholic Church’s abuse problems revealed that is much more prevalent than most people thought.
There are many more organizations now that are moving to protect victims and end child sexual assault. Many of these organizations have been successful in targeting specific abuses, as well as pushing reforms in the legal system. If you are a victim of child sexual assault, reporting can be easier today than it has been in the past because of the drastic increase in support throughout the community.
There may be evidence that the number of instances of child sexual abuse is declining. The United States Department of Justice noted a 40% decrease in cases from 1992 to 2000. However, the cause of this decline is hotly debated. It may be due to a decrease in reporting or to a more aggressive stance by law enforcement. Whichever it is, experts agree that the overall number appears to be decreasing over time.
Call a Child Sexual Assault Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one is the victim of CSA and need clarification on the different causes of action in a child sexual abuse case, you may consider consulting a lawyer for assistance. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to explore your options with our legal team. We do not shy away from the tough cases and you pay nothing up front or out of pocket. We take our fee from the settlement we secure on your behalf.