Most people think of a criminal case when they hear “lawsuit against a sex abuser.” Filing a civil lawsuit, however, is the best way for victims to recover damages. A successful personal injury lawsuit against a sex abuser could result in two main types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Financial compensation could pay for a victim’s medical bills, therapy, counseling, lost income, mental anguish, emotional distress, and more. Learn what your lawsuit against a sex abuser could be worth in Illinois.
Restitution vs. Compensation
First, understand the difference between criminal restitution and civil lawsuit compensation. Restitution is a right sexual abuse victims have under the Constitution of the State of Illinois. It refers to part of a sentence during a criminal case that orders a defendant to compensate the victim for crime-related losses. Restitution requires payment for the victim’s out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical bills or property repairs. In a sexual abuse case, restitution may pay for counseling, transportation, doctor’s office visits, lost wages, and other economic costs.
It is not possible to receive a financial award for noneconomic damages during a criminal case. The criminal courts in Illinois cannot order restitution relief for physical pain or suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, or psychological trauma. If a sex abuse victim wants to seek financial compensation for these noneconomic losses, he or she must file a civil action against the perpetrator. Only a civil lawsuit against a sex abuser can fully compensate a victim for all his or her damages.
A civil lawsuit could result in many different types of damages for the victim. All damages, however, fall under two main categories: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages serve to reimburse the victim for his or her losses, while punitive serve to punish the defendant. Compensatory damages happen in all successful sex abuse claims, while awarding punitive damages is up to a judge’s discretion. Types of compensatory damages available include:
- Medical expenses. All related past and future medical costs, including treatments, hospital stays, physical therapy, ambulance costs, medications, medical devices, nursing care, domestic services, and transportation.
- Pain and suffering. All emotional tolls the sexual abuser inflicted upon you in the past, as well as the future burden you will bear as the survivor of sexual assault or abuse. This may include lost quality or enjoyment of life.
- Lost wages. If the sexual abuse experience resulted in you taking time off work for counseling, recovery, or to avoid your abuser, you can file a claim for these economic damages.
The two types of compensatory damages are actual (specific) and general. Actual damages are out-of-pocket or economic costs, while general may not have a monetary value. The general damages are often substantial in a sexual abuse case. The state of Illinois does not place a cap on either type of damage unless the defendant is the state. If the defendant in your case is the state government, you cannot receive more than $100,000 in general damages for most claims.
Punitive damages are common in sexual abuse cases, as a form of punishment against the defendant. A judge may demand that a defendant pay punitive damages in addition to compensatory ones if the judge believes that the victim has not received enough under the circumstances, or if the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. Gross negligence, intent to harm, malice, or criminal acts may all result in a punitive damage award against the defendant.
What is Your Claim Worth?
A lawsuit against a sex abuser could end in the recovery of all your related damages. With a lawyer’s help, you could file a claim for thousands of dollars in economic and noneconomic damages. A sexual abuse attorney in Illinois can give you the power to accurately evaluate your damages and file an action for the maximum amount. Working with an attorney can make it easy to understand the value of your case and fight for fair compensation.
The average value of a sexual abuse claim in Illinois is in the tens of thousands. However, each claim is unique. It is impossible to guess what your claim could be worth without a conversation with an attorney. However, you can review a law firm’s past case results for an idea of how successful its attorneys are at securing fair recovery. Past results can demonstrate a lawyer’s commitment to the client and case. If you are curious about the potential value of your sexual abuse civil claim, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC at (888) 424-5757 for a confidential consultation.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, your lawyer will never cost you anything out of pocket. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis. We do not charge anything unless we secure you financial compensation for your sexual abuse case. If we do win, we deduct our fees directly from your settlement or jury verdict – not from your wallet. You do not have to worry about how you will afford a lawyer’s representation when you retain our firm.