By standing up to perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse, you can secure resources, find closure, and protect your community. Your strength can help save others.
Sexual assault and sexual abuse are dehumanizing violations that can be perpetrated against children, women, and men. These incidents can happen in schools, places of worship, or on the job. In every instance, such treatment is totally unacceptable, and you have power via the law to hold abusers accountable.
The attorneys at Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann are ready to support your journey towards justice. We do this by securing any evidence in your case, identifying all the responsible parties involved (individuals and institutions), and taking them to court if necessary.
Reach out to the lawyers at our Birmingham offices online, or by calling (205) 322-8880 to schedule a free, completely confidential consultation. For more information about the legalities in sexual abuse and assault cases, read on, and remember that real help from compassionate professionals is just one phone call away.
Sexual assault and sexual abuse are two similar but legally distinct terms. The differences in how they are used and applied are as follows:
These two terms are often used interchangeably, as their definitions can overlap. Sexual abuse and assault can happen anywhere, day or night, in places like bars, rideshare cars, office parties, classrooms, or churches. Nowhere are these behaviors acceptable.
Whatever term you use to describe what happened, the fact remains that any sexual conduct or contact that isn’t entered into with consent by adults of sound mind is intolerable. The law recognizes that, and you have legal options going forward.
What happens now is based on what’s best for you. There are legal actions you can take to recover damages, expose wrongdoers, and make your surroundings safer.
Civil lawsuits are separate from criminal charges. In a civil suit, you can seek compensation that covers:
Medical bills for both physical and psychological treatments
Lost wages or employment related to your injuries
Pain and suffering damages for conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and depression
Punitive damages, which are funds charged to punish wrongdoers that can then be awarded to you
Wrongful death damages in cases where the person assaulted lost their life due to the incident, whether from fatal injuries or suicide
The long-term effect of sexual abuse and assault include persistent fears, unjust feelings of guilt and shame, difficulty maintaining intimate relationships, and higher instances of suicidal thoughts, actions, and self-harm. These injuries are just as real as physical wounds, and a skilled attorney can describe these damages in court to assure that all your losses are compensated to the full extent of the law.
Sexual assault can cost survivors over $200,000 in a lifetime of medical expenses, criminal justice efforts, and lost productivity. Child survivors especially may experience compounding losses over the years. These costs should not be yours alone—hold those who harmed you responsible for the damage they’ve done.
The “burden of proof” refers to the need for enough information and evidence to decide whether an accusation is true or false. For a sexual assault civil lawsuit, that means proving that:
In a civil lawsuit, the burden of proof is much lower than in a criminal case. That means that even if a criminal charge is never brought, or the perpetrator is not convicted, you can still win in civil court. Your lawyer will do the work needed to build your case, allowing you to heal in peace.
Here are examples of the types of evidence your attorney may present in court:
Your attorney has the ability to obtain documents and other forms of evidence through legal demands. We can also compel witnesses to testify even if they don’t want to, such as with friends of the perpetrator. The law is on the side of the truth, and our skilled lawyers may be able to access proof that otherwise would be hidden. We leave no stone unturned in pursuing justice for you.
Many survivors find legal victories healing. A settlement or verdict in civil court acknowledges your truth, exposes your abuser, and provides real monetary relief that you can then use to move forward towards a brighter future.
Those who may be able to sue over a sexual abuse incident include:
Any survivor of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sexual battery may have the ability to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser, and any other person or institution that enabled them.
If you feel you were victimized by a sexual assault and wish to pursue legal action, contact our attorneys at (205) 322-8880 to explore your options.
No, criminal charges or criminal convictions are not required before you are allowed to file a civil lawsuit over sexual abuse. If you were assaulted, you have the right to say so, and you may choose to file a claim against the perpetrator.
You may also have the option to press criminal charges if you report the incident to law enforcement, and they find the information actionable. Every state has unique policies related to holding sexual abusers criminally accountable. An introductory state-by-state guide can be found here.
Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann is a personal injury firm working specifically on the civil side of the justice system. You can contact us at (205) 322-8880 to discuss your case, your legal options, and what our team can do to help you recover.
Every state has its own deadline when it comes to sexual assault and abuse lawsuits. Those deadlines are known as “statutes of limitations” and are intended to make sure cases are brought while evidence and memories are still fresh.
However, in cases of sexual assault, delays in reporting are common. A person may fear retaliation at work, may lack the resources to escape an abusive domestic relationship, or (in cases of child sexual abuse) may not realize that they have been sexually violated until years later.
Some states are expanding these deadlines specifically for sexual assault cases, but many have not. Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann is headquartered in Alabama, where there are very few exceptions to the strict civil lawsuit limits of two years from the date of a sexual assault, and five years from an offense of sexual abuse.
That being said, in Alabama there is no civil limit for cases of rape, or if the sexual abuse was against a minor.
It is vitally important that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an incident of sexual assault or sexual abuse. Let your attorney gather information before it’s hidden or becomes corrupted — like forgotten memories, contaminated evidence, or lost security footage. Once the evidence is secure, you can decide what to do before the window for justice closes.
Sexual assault and sexual abuse offenses don’t just violate a person’s body, but also their dignity and humanity. These inexcusable acts deserve to be called out, and the perpetrators exposed.
One of the most direct ways you can take control is with a civil lawsuit. In civil court, the burden of proof is lower than in criminal cases, and your rights and needs are centered. If you’re ready to speak out, our attorneys are ready to stand by your side.
Contact Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann by filling out our online form, or by calling (205) 322-8880. Our vast experience with sensitive personal injury cases means your boundaries will be respected and your dignity honored. Your choice to pursue the justice you deserve could help punish predators and make the world safer for others just like you.
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Sexual assaults come in many different forms, and sometimes involve other forms of abuse such as:
If your sexual assault case involves other elements of abuse, rest assured that our attorneys will assist you with every aspect we can to ensure your needs are met.
Sexual harassment can escalate to sexual abuse and assault if it’s not recognized and stopped soon enough. Knowing these signs can help protect you and others.
The three main types of sexual harassment are:
These boundaries can be crossed at work, school, houses of worship, or in other places where you have a right to safety. If you have been treated inappropriately, you may have the grounds to sue for sexual harassment.
Sexual abuse and assault are sometimes ignored or even facilitated by institutions like corporations, nursing homes, hospitals, churches, orphanages, militaries, prisons, and rehab clinics. In these situations, the abuse may continue long past the assault due to efforts to silence you or cover up what happened.
In such instances, your attorney can help you pursue a case against the organization itself. Such actions help reveal the wrongdoers in companies and churches, and can even lead to class action lawsuits that help achieve justice for many.
Your first priority after a sexual attack is to find a safe place and reach out to someone you trust. That may be a friend or family member you know, or a professional you can rely on. The next step is to seek medical attention if you’ve been injured — the person you trust can help you get there and stay by your side.
After that, with every step you take, a lawyer can help. We can advise you on your interactions with law enforcement, gather and preserve evidence, and negotiate on your behalf so you do not have to be re-traumatized by confronting the perpetrator or their defenders by yourself (or at all).
Reach out to Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann online or by calling (205) 322-8880. You are not alone—our team is here for you.
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