Survivors of sexual abuse deserve to heal and hold the perpetrator accountable for their heinous actions. The journey you take to get to this point may be long and arduous, but hope is on the horizon. By filing a civil lawsuit against your abuser, you can hold them financially and legally responsible for their conduct.
The Arlington sexual abuse lawyers at Hartley Law Firm support and fight for survivors. We are here to help you reclaim your agency and expose the wrongs committed by the person or institution that harmed you.
Can I File a Civil Lawsuit Against the Perpetrator If There Isn’t a Criminal Case?
Yes. Texas law allows you to bring a civil sexual abuse lawsuit even if the state did not or has not yet filed a criminal case against the person or institution responsible. Additionally, you can win a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator even if criminal charges are dropped or unsuccessfully brought.
In criminal cases, the prosecution has a high burden of proving criminal offenses beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, this high burden can be difficult to meet in sexual abuse cases.
However, in a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff has a much lower burden of proof, so the chances that they can successfully bring a claim against the perpetrator are much higher.
Hartley Law Firm is here to lift up your voice and help you pursue justice. You deserve to be heard, and we will work with you to tailor a case strategy that protects your legal rights and aligns with your healing journey.
How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Abuse Case Against the Perpetrator or Institution Responsible?
Texas law requires survivors of sexual abuse to bring their claims before a specific deadline. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. How much time you have to file a lawsuit depends on the type of allegations you are making.
In some cases, survivors may not know the name of the person who harmed them. Because of this, survivors may delay filing the claim until they discover that person’s name. But doing so can jeopardize their ability to file the case within the applicable statute of limitations.
Texas addresses this by allowing you to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party using the placeholder name “John or Jane Doe” until you discover the name of the person who harmed you. While you take steps to reasonably determine the perpetrator’s name, the statute of limitations is paused. When you discover their name, you can amend the lawsuit to name that person, and the limitations period begins again.
Survivors of sexual abuse that occurred when they were adults typically have five years to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator.
Childhood Sexual Abuse
Survivors of childhood sexual abuse may not remember details about what happened to them for years after the abuse occurred. Many may know they experienced sexual trauma, but it can take years to feel safe coming forward. Texas law accounts for this by allowing survivors of childhood sexual abuse to bring a lawsuit within 30 years after the abuse occurs.
Sexual Exploitation by a Mental Health Service Provider
If you were sexually exploited by a mental health service provider, you usually have to file a claim within three years of discovering the provider acted inappropriately. Sometimes, the deadline may be extended another 15 years or more. A sexual abuse lawyer at our office can help you understand and meet your filing deadline.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Bring a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against the Person Who Abused Me?
Bringing a lawsuit against the perpetrator can be daunting, and with so much at stake, it is best to have a trained sexual abuse attorney on your side. Our team understands what evidence to look for and what arguments to make, and, most importantly, we act as a buffer between you and the at-fault party. We also communicate with third parties on your behalf and help ensure that your rights and best interests are protected throughout the legal process.
Hartley Law Firm: Arlington Sexual Abuse Lawyers Serving Texas
Hartley Law Firm takes pride in providing zealous advocacy to survivors of sexual abuse. Led by award-winning attorney Austin Harley, our team will work tirelessly to help you hold the parties and organizations that harmed you accountable. Austin was recognized as the American Institute of Trial Lawyers’ 2021 “Litigator of the Year,” so you can trust that we have the skill and experience to provide the strong courtroom advocacy you deserve. If you or your loved one experienced sexual abuse, contact us by phone or online to schedule a free consultation and begin your journey for justice. We don’t charge our sexual abuse clients any legal fees unless we win your case.