Deciding which personal injury attorney to hire to handle your sexual abuse lawsuit is a big decision. You want to make sure that you choose a lawyer that you are comfortable with and who you believe has a good chance of winning your case. As an adult victim, you can choose the personal injury attorney you think is best. As a child, parents or guardians have a lot of input on which personal injury attorney is hired to represent the victim.
According to the Sexual Assault Legal Institute, every child processes sexual abuse differently and may need their own individual path toward recovery. This can include finding the right attorney you or your child is comfortable with. One lawyer may not be the best fit for all victims in a case.
Knowing what to look for in a personal injury attorney to handle a sexual abuse lawsuit is not always obvious. While you want someone with experience and whom you like, other traits, such as listening skills, matter, too.
Personal Injury Attorney Traits
There are many traits to look for in a personal injury attorney to handle a sexual abuse lawsuit, including:
- Willingness to listen
- Empathic and makes you feel comfortable
- Has past experience settling and trying child sexual abuse cases
- Is licensed and part of the state bar in your state
- Knowledgeable about child sexual abuse cases
- Aggressive enough to fight for your rights
This list represents just some of the traits that you could look for when hiring a sexual abuse attorney. However, this is not a comprehensive list. There might be other traits that are important to you personally that should carry equal weight in your decision-making process.
Interaction With Law Enforcement
When it comes to criminal child sexual abuse investigations, law enforcement handles the direction and the legal aspects of your case. According to ChildWelfare.gov, law enforcement may use a variety of techniques to validate any suspicion of child abuse. Having a personal injury lawyer able to support you through the criminal investigation while preparing your civil case can be an asset during your interactions with law enforcement.
Even if you do not pursue a criminal case, you still may need someone to help you throughout your interactions with law enforcement. You may need access to records from law enforcement and gathering evidence.
Value of Experience
Choosing a law firm with experience in sexual abuse cases is extremely critical in building your case. These types of cases require expertise that only comes from trying similar cases. This includes the specific legal precedents, state-specific laws, and overcoming possible legal arguments from the defense team. Be sure to ask any personal injury attorney that you interview about what cases they represented in the past and their overall experience trying similar cases.
Technically, you can choose to represent yourself and go through the legal process alone. However, you do not need to. The fact is that the process itself can be overwhelming, especially when you are dealing with the trauma from sexual abuse. Having someone with experience working on similar cases take care of gathering evidence and filing legal motions on your behalf while you focus on recovery can help you get your life as back to normal as possible.
Settlements vs. Trials
In most cases, personal injury attorneys will try to settle your case out of court as opposed to trying your case in a courtroom. The process of a trial tends to take a long time, costs more, and could potentially be more stressful for the victim, especially if they give witness testimony on the stand. For this reason, your personal injury lawyer may try to settle your case out of court.
Sometimes it is not possible to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit out of court. Some parties may not want to settle, or the proposed settlement amount is not enough. In these cases, your sexual abuse lawyer should be prepared to take your case through the court system. For this reason, you should choose a child sexual assault lawyer with experience settling cases and winning courtroom trials. Having experience in one or the other is not enough to provide you with the right level of support throughout the legal process.
Contact a Child Sexual Assault Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is the victim of child sexual abuse or assault, you can potentially receive compensation from the person responsible. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to speak with a member of our legal team. We can schedule a free consultation to discuss your case in detail and answer any questions that you may have about the process. We understand that this is a difficult time and pursuing legal action is a big step. We do not shy away from the tough cases and we are here to support you along the way.