SEXUAL ABUSE ATTORNEY IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
Sexual abuse is one of the most heinous crimes you can think of. The physical and psychological trauma from sexual abuse can haunt a victim for the rest of their life. A victim of sexual abuse might experience guilt, shame, social isolation, sexual dysfunction, sleep problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a variety of other effects. The damage inflicted on a victim can be aggravated if the abuse was committed by someone the victim knew and trusted.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of sexual abuse, you might be able to seek financial compensation for all the physical and non-physical life changes. As a personal injury attorney serving clients in Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas, I am committed to providing compassionate and skilled legal counsel to survivors of sexual abuse. My law firm is based in Webster and Houston and serves clients throughout the state, including Pasadena, South Houston, League City, Clear Lake, Santa Fe, and other areas of Texas.
Sexual Abuse in Texas
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines sexual abuse as any unwanted and unwelcome sexual activity that involves a perpetrator using physical force, making threats, or taking advantage of an incapacitated victim. In most cases, the perpetrator is someone the victim knows and trusts. Sexual abuse may also occur without unwanted touching or any other form of physical contact. When determining whether or not a person was a victim of sexual abuse, it is essential to understand what constitutes “consent.”
Consent is a voluntary and clear agreement between two or more individuals who engage in sexual activity, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). Consent must be voluntary and clearly communicated to be valid. A person cannot give consent if that person is unconscious, asleep, underage, impaired by alcohol or drugs, or lacks mental or physical capacity.
Sexual Abuse from People in Positions of Trust
In many cases, sexual abuse is committed by people in a position of trust or authority. Specific roles and professions that may sexually abuse a victim from a position of trust or authority include:
Teachers and other members of school staff
Law enforcement officers
Priests and other members of the church
Settings in which sexual abuse may be perpetrated by people in a position of trust include:
Healthcare facilities, including hospitals and clinics
Educational institutions, including schools, universities, and colleges
Foster and nursing homes
Prisons, jails, and correctional facilities
An example of sexual abuse from a person in a position of trust is a teacher engaging in improper conduct with a student or a doctor forcing an unwanted kiss on a patient.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Sexual Abuse
Victims of sexual abuse can file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and possibly other parties to recover compensatory and punitive damages. When filing a personal injury claim for sexual abuse, you need to discuss your specific situation with a knowledgeable attorney to determine if you can hold the perpetrator accountable for their improper conduct and whether you can hold other parties, including a hospital, school, or any other entity, liable for the resulting harm.
Contrary to popular belief, you can file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator regardless of whether the perpetrator was convicted of the crime or if any charges were filed. In fact, survivors of sexual abuse can pursue compensation in a civil case even if the perpetrator was acquitted. The standard of proof in a civil case involving sexual abuse is much lower than that in a criminal case, which is why it may be easier for the victim to prove their case and hold the perpetrator accountable for their improper conduct.
While the typical statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas is two years from the date of the incident, there is an increased time limit for bringing civil claims of sexual abuse and assault. A victim of sexual abuse may have up to 30 years to bring a civil lawsuit from the date they turn 18. Consult with an attorney to determine how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit for sexual abuse in your specific situation.
SEXUAL ABUSE ATTORNEY IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
A sexual abuse attorney in Houston, Texas, can help you navigate this difficult time in your life and hold your abuser accountable for their conduct. Being sexually abused or assaulted can have lifelong impacts. As a sexual abuse attorney serving my Texas community, I understand the importance of helping survivors seek justice. Get a case review today to discuss how you can pursue the compensation you deserve.