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Lancaster Sexual Abuse and Assault Lawyer

Few things in life are more difficult to deal with than sexual abuse. Unwanted advances can have a profound impact on your physical and mental health for years to come. While this behavior is criminal, it could also serve as the basis for a personal injury lawsuit.

A dedicated injury attorney could answer your questions about your right to pursue a civil case against your abuser or anyone who enabled them. If you have questions about seeking financial compensation, now is the time to speak to a Lancaster sexual abuse and assault lawyer.

Understanding the Burden of Proof

The difference between criminal and civil sexual assault cases is stark. When prosecutors pursue charges, their ultimate goal is obtaining a conviction and potentially incarcerating the accused. The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is financial compensation. Another important difference is the burden of proof necessary to prevail at trial.

In order to convict someone of a crime, the state must make their case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is essentially a near-certainty that the elements of the offense were committed by the accused. The burden is much lower in civil cases.

To recover financial compensation in an injury lawsuit, a person only needs to make their case by the preponderance of the evidence. That means success is possible by convincing a jury there is at least a 50 percent chance the abuse occurred.

These differences are important because they mean that the outcomes of both types of cases are not linked. It is possible to recover a monetary award even in situations where the state opted not to prosecute. A Lancaster sexual abuse and assault attorney could answer questions about when legal action is a viable option.

Time Limits for Abuse Lawsuits

The law provides time limits on any type of civil lawsuit, and abuse cases are no exception. However, the deadline that applies to adults is different compared to those who were targeted at a young age. In either scenario, a sexual assault and abuse lawyer in Lancaster could help manage this legal deadline.

A person must comply with the statute of limitations, which is the name for the time period that applies to a lawsuit. For adults, there is generally a two-year period of time that begins counting down the day the assault happened. While that might seem like a lot of time, many victims are not immediately able to process what they have been through.

This is especially true for juvenile victims. Because of the risk of memories being repressed for years, the law provides young victims with far more time to pursue legal action against their abusers. A person who suffered abuse as a minor can file a lawsuit up until the date of their 30th birthday.

The consequences of not complying with this deadline are serious. Unless an exception applies, a judge may have little choice but to dismiss the lawsuit forever. This dismissal is with prejudice, meaning it can never be filed again.

Call a Sexual Abuse and Assault Attorney in Lancaster Today

No one should have to navigate the legal system on their own. If you are seeking justice, the right attorney could take the stress and worry of representing yourself from your shoulders. Let a Lancaster sexual abuse and assault lawyer fight for you. Call today to learn more.