If you suffer sexual abuse, it is essential to know where to turn for help. In California, sexual abuse victims have the option of pursuing both a criminal case and a civil case against the perpetrator. There are important distinctions between the two types of cases. Below, we offer an overview of each type.
Criminal Sexual Abuse Cases
Criminal sexual abuse cases are filed by the district attorney’s office. The D.A. is a lawyer who represents the people. He or she brings charges against the suspect to protect the people from that person.
Criminal cases are tried before a judge and jury. The goal is to convict and appropriately sentence the perpetrator for their crimes. Sometimes, the judge will order the perpetrator to pay restitution to the victim; this amount is generally modest and only collected from the perpetrator, which is usually difficult to do.
Civil Sexual Abuse Cases
As a victim of sexual abuse, you can also file a civil case. A civil case is a lawsuit that you file against the perpetrator. You must prove that the perpetrator is responsible for the harm you suffered. Successful civil cases can result in compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and more.
Does a Criminal Case Impact a Civil Case?
If there is a criminal case against the perpetrator, it does not affect your ability to file a civil lawsuit. In fact, the criminal case may help you prove your claims in the civil lawsuit. Even if the criminal case is pending, you can still go ahead and file a civil lawsuit.
Get Legal Help with Your Sexual Abuse Case
It is vital for you to understand your legal rights and how these two case types could affect you. The best way to do this is by contacting an attorney who is familiar with California’s sexual abuse laws. If you are a sexual abuse victim, contact Lipeles Law Group. We offer compassionate legal guidance for sexual abuse victims and their families. Let us help you get the justice that you deserve.