Orange County Sexual Abuse Assault Lawyer
Sexual abuse and sexual assault are horrible crimes that result in life-long psychological trauma for the victims. While the criminal court system will prosecute the perpetrator in a sexual abuse or assault case and impose a sentence if appropriate, a civil action can also be taken to recover financial compensation for the victims and their families. The emotional scars from sexual abuse and assault can leave victims needing serious psychological treatment that can be extremely costly.
At the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, we understand that no amount of money can compensate victims of sexual abuse and assault. However, financial compensation can help victims get a sense of closure, pay for the expensive therapy, and hold the perpetrator accountable for his or her actions. Taking an abuser to court may also encourage other victims to come forward and help prevent the abuser from abusing again. For more information or to discuss your case with an experienced Orange County sexual assault attorney, call 949-727-9300.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual assault and abuse can take on many forms. But legally, sexual abuse is defined as any unwanted or illegal sexual contact between two individuals. There are a number of different acts that may constitute sexual abuse, such as forced oral copulation and touching intimate areas of another person’s body. While actual intercourse can easily be defined, it may be more difficult to discern what may be considered sexually abusive conduct, especially in younger children. However, non-physical sexual abuse can be just as devastating to a victim and can be just as easily compensated in court.
No matter what type of sexual abuse you have suffered or where the abuse has occurred, you deserve help. At our firm, we have an incomparable reputation of success in representing sexual abuse victims. We are aggressive in getting you the fair compensation that you deserve, while carefully protecting your identity and maintaining the highest possible standard of integrity and compassion.
Sexual Abuse & Assault Can Arise in Different Settings
At the Law Offices of Samer Habbas, we approach sexual assault and abuse cases with compassion for the victim and his or her family and aggressive litigation towards the perpetrator and his employer who could have prevented the abuse or assault. We have successfully brought lawsuits against perpetrators in all forms, including:
- Clergy or priests
- Leaders of youth organizations
- Foster parents
- Daycare supervisors
- Law enforcement
- Psychiatric hospitals and other healthcare providers
Regardless of who sexually abused or assaulted you, we will help you fight back, obtain fair compensation, and get the justice you deserve in civil court. Even if the evidence in your criminal court case was not strong, we may be able to find and use evidence that was overlooked, ignored, or rejected by law enforcement agencies and criminal prosecutors.
Important Steps to Take if You are a Victim of Sexual Assault
The first and most important step to take is to get yourself to safety if you have been sexually assaulted or abused. Once you are out of danger, you should consider the other important steps below:
- Get medical help. Ensure your health is safeguarded and document the sexual attack. You need to immediately find a medical center with nursing staff trained in sexual trauma and evidence collection. Immediately after your attack, you may not be in the right frame of mind to want to pursue charges against your sexual attacker. However, once the evidence is gone, it makes it more difficult to pursue any type of case against your attacker.
- Report the attack. After being sexually violated, it may be hard to find your voice to report the sexual abuse or assault. You will no doubt experience many emotions, including feeling as if you are to blame for what happened or feeling embarrassed because you know the person. You may not be ready to file a police report, but you should still speak with someone about what happened to you, even if it is anonymously to the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
- Save all evidence of the attack. Even if you are unable to immediately file a report or get medical help, you must preserve the items of clothing you were wearing at the time of the sexual attack and any other items that could potentially contain valuable evidence. These items will be important if you later decide to make an official report later or seek legal justice against your attacker or the institution that harbored them.
- Find an Orange County sexual abuse lawyer. When you’re ready to seek justice, contact the Law Offices of Samer Habbas to help you try to hold your attacker responsible. Although filing a report will be helpful in your civil case, it is not required. Our experienced legal team handles cases where victims of sexual assault come into the process feeling hopeless only to learn that they may be able to succeed in a claim.
Pursuing Damages as a Sexual Assault Victim
Victims of sexual assault and abuse have two different avenues of justice: criminal and civil. In the criminal justice system, the government prosecutor decides whether or not to charge an individual with a sex crime. If the defendant is found guilty, he or she will face a prison sentence.
Civil justice, on the other hand, allows victims to bring claims for monetary damages against their sexual attacker and the institutions that harbored them. Although a guilty plea or verdict can strengthen a civil case, it is not necessary in order to bring a civil claim. In fact, even if your attacker is not found guilty in a criminal case, he or she may still nevertheless be liable for your injuries and be ordered to compensate you for your:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of companionship or consortium with your significant other
Statute of Limitations for Bringing a Sexual Assault or Abuse Civil Claim in California
Just like any other claim, you will only have a certain time frame during which to bring a claim against your attacker. This window frame is called the statute of limitations. If you fail to bring a claim during this time frame, you may be forever barred from seeking civil justice and holding your attacker liable. As such, even if you are not ready to file a lawsuit now, you must preserve your rights before the statute of limitations expires.
California law does not have a statute of limitations for criminal charges. However, if you fail to timely file your civil claim, it can keep you from pursuing money damages you deserve in a civil claim.
As of January 2020, survivors of childhood sexual abuse and assault must file a claim by the time they turn 40 years old, or within 5 years of the discovery of the abuse. Under this new law, you now have a three-year window for the revival of claims which have been barred because the statute of limitations expired.
Choosing the Right Attorney to Handle Your Sexual Abuse Claim
Sexual abuse cases are emotional and fragile. As a victim, you need to find an Orange County sexual abuse attorney with whom you feel comfortable sharing details of your case. The legal team at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas has handled a wide spectrum of sexual abuse and assault cases. Our attorneys compassionately communicate with clients, yet aggressively deal with the perpetrators and the institutions that harbored them to get the full compensation our clients deserve.
In addition to holding the actual attackers liable, our attorneys focus on holding property owners, employers, and security companies accountable for failing to protect victims. We seek monetary compensation for physical injuries, emotional trauma, and psychological effects, all of which may have a significant financial impact on all aspects of victims’ lives. To discuss your case with an expert Orange County sexual abuse lawyer, call 949-727-9300.
Protect Your Rights with an Experienced Orange County Sexual Abuse Attorney
If or a loved one has been a victim of sexual abuse or assault, contact the Law Offices of Samer Habbas. Our Orange County sexual abuse attorneys specialize in handling these types of cases and have the experience to help you hold the responsible parties accountable and obtain compensation for your pain and suffering. Please call 949-727-9300 to discuss your case with an expert Orange County sexual abuse attorney.