Ogden Sexual Abuse Attorney
If you or a loved one were recently a victim of a sexual assault, you may be able to file a civil case on top of any criminal charges. Every Ogden sexual abuse attorney at Feller & Wendt, LLC understands the traumatic and delicate nature of sexual abuse. We handle every case with compassion and understanding while giving it the attention to detail it deserves. We help hold criminal parties accountable for the pain, suffering, and other damage they cause. Contact us to learn more about sexual abuse claims and to schedule a free and confidential consultation with our firm today.
What Is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse involves any non-consensual sexual contact. It can happen to men, women, or children of any age. Sexual abuse by an intimate or domestic partner can include refusal to use contraception, deliberately causing pain during sex, purposely passing on sexually transmitted infections, or using toys or engaging in any sexual activity without consent and/or to cause pain or humiliation.
Sexual abuse involving children can be any sexual act performed by an adult, or older child, to a child. This may include, but is not limited to:
- Sexual touching, clothed or unclothed
- Penetrative sex
- Encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity
- Engaging in sexual activity in front of a child
- Showing child pornography or using children to create pornography
- Manipulating a child into prostitution
Sexual abuse is a serious crime, and perpetrators face fines, jail time, and other consequences. Victims of sexual abuse are eligible to file civil claims on top of criminal charges to compensate for their injuries, both emotional and physical. To learn if you have a claim, speak with an Ogden personal injury attorney experienced in these types of cases.
Why File a Civil Claim for Sexual Abuse?
The pain of dealing with a sexual abuse case can often be overwhelming for the victims involved. Some loved ones wonder if it’s necessary to put the victim through the process again. However, there are several reasons why you should hire an Ogden sexual abuse attorney and consider a civil sexual assault claim:
- The evidentiary standard is lower. In a criminal case, a victim may feel like his or her trauma is on display. However, in a criminal case, the prosecutor must show that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which requires a lot of forensic evidence and questioning. In a civil case, on the other hand, a jury will decide if a defendant is guilty based on a “preponderance of the evidence,” in other words, it was “more likely than not” that the defendant is guilty.
- You can use evidence from the criminal trial in your civil case. If you have already gone through a criminal trial, all the evidence pertaining to your case became a matter of court record. You can use this same evidence to collect civil compensation from the defendant.
- You get a sense of justice. Victims of sexual abuse can often experience closure and a sense of justice by filing a civil claim.
- You can recover both monetary and non-monetary losses. Victims of sexual abuse often need extensive medical treatment, not only to tend to their physical wounds but also any psychological ones. A civil claim can provide compensation for current and future medical expenses, as well as lost wages and intangible losses such as emotional distress, pain, and suffering. In cases involving violent crime, these damage awards can be significant.
- You can file a claim against a third party. A defendant may not have the funds to compensate you for the full amount of your civil claim, but it’s possible that a third party shared the blame for your experience. Some examples include an employer who failed to properly background check or monitor an employee, a public or private university or school, a hospital, and more.
Each state has a unique statute of limitations for filing these types of actions so speak with a knowledgeable Ogden sexual abuse lawyer. In Utah, you have four years from the date of the incident to file a civil claim. A victim of child sexual abuse may file a claim at any time – there is no statute of limitations.
Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse is a serious crime. Parents may file a civil claim on a child’s behalf, or a child may file his or her own civil claim at any point in time – there is no established statute of limitations for this atrocity.
Child sexual abuse may include any of the activities listed above, as well as any other actions that a prosecutor deems inappropriate. Parents should be aware of the warning signs of child sexual abuse, such as:
- A fear of certain people or places
- An unusual or fearful response to touch
- Fear of physical exams
- Abrupt or unexplainable changes in behavior, such as bed-wetting or aggression
- Sudden awareness of genitals or sexual acts
- Drawings that demonstrate sexual acts
If your child discloses sexual abuse to you, believe her or him and seek medical and psychological attention immediately. Then consult a caring Ogden sexual abuse attorney as soon as possible to learn more about potentially filing a civil claim.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Adults
Survivors of rape and sexual assault can experience a range of reactions. Everyone handles traumatic experiences differently, and there’s no one “pattern” of reaction to extreme emotional events. Some people immediately react to trauma, while others may have reactions that occur months or even years later. Some people appear to recover quickly, while others may struggle with the trauma for a lifetime.
Survivors of trauma may experience any or all of the following symptoms:
- Fearful responses to “triggers” of the traumatic event
- An all-consuming sense of anxiety, which may impede his or her ability to go to work or participate in social functions
- Nightmares or flashbacks
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pervasive feelings of guilt
- A negative self-image or feeling of being “unclean”
- Sudden changes in interpersonal relationships
- Loss of interest in sex
- Loss of interest in social connections and friendships
If your loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, encourage them to seek medical and psychological care immediately.
Sexual Abuse Claims Against Institutions
Often, we encourage victims of sexual abuse to file civil claims against a third party who is culpable in the incident. The reasoning is simple: while a defendant may be guilty of committing these atrocities, often there are institutions that turned a blind eye to allow the abuse to happen. In addition, an individual likely will not have enough personal funds to fully compensate you for your injuries, pain, and suffering. An institution, on the other hand, has the means to compensate victims for these crimes – and it should if institutional negligence played a role in a victim’s injuries. For additional information regarding bringing a claim against an institution, speak with a sexual abuse lawyer in Ogden, UT.
The following are some examples of institutions that might be responsible for sexual abuse:
A school: Both public and private universities and schools have a duty of care to protect their students. If a student becomes a victim of sexual abuse on campus, the school could be on the hook for damages. Examples include negligent security, inadequate lighting on campus, or negligent hiring of a faculty member.
A doctor or therapist: Doctors and therapists fall into the category of “mandated reporters.” This means they have a legal obligation to report any suspicions of sexual abuse, even if it’s only that – a suspicion. If a doctor or therapist had a reasonable suspicion that a patient was the victim of sexual abuse and did not report it, he or she could be responsible for any damages that result.
A sports league: Governing bodies and organizations have a responsibility to protect their athletes from harm. Negligent hiring or ignoring suspicions or even reports of sexual abuse could give rise to a civil claim. A recent example of this would be a claim against the U.S. Olympics committee for their knowledge of sexual abuse of gymnasts.
How to File a Civil Case for Sexual Abuse in Utah
Filing a civil case in the state of Utah involves a set of complex legal procedures, which require the assistance of an Ogden sexual abuse attorney. Here’s how to go about the process:
Contact a personal injury attorney and arrange a free initial consultation.
Personal injury and civil law attorneys like those at Feller & Wendt, LLC offer a free initial consultation. In this first meeting, we listen to your concerns and ask you to tell us about your experience. We learn more about your case, including who might share responsibility for your injuries, pain, and suffering. In this meeting, we can tell you whether we think your claim has a legal basis and if you have the basis for a claim. If your case has legal merit, we’ll take it on a contingency-fee basis. This means you won’t owe us anything unless we win a settlement or court judgment on your behalf.
Observe any filing deadlines.
Once your Ogden sexual abuse attorney agrees to take your case, he or she will draft a “complaint,” which is a formal notice of a claim. He or she files this with the applicable district court; which is typically the court where you reside or where the crime took place. Your lawyer must follow strict filing procedures and observe the statute of limitations in the state. When you have a personal injury attorney by your side, you don’t have to worry about any of these procedures – your lawyer will handle it for you and keep you informed every step of the way.
Once the defendant receives a notice of the complaint, you may have private negotiations to reach a settlement. If you cannot agree on a fair settlement, we will take your case to trial to gain fair and full compensation for your monetary and non-monetary losses.
Feller & Wendt, LLC | Ogden’s Sexual Abuse Firm
If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse, you can file a civil claim against the parties responsible. The attorneys at Feller & Wendt, LLC have unmatched experience with these delicate cases. We will be your advocate through every step of the process, keeping you informed throughout and defending your right to fair compensation for your suffering. Call our office at (801) 499-5060 to schedule a free case review and learn about your legal options in a confidential setting today.