Over Four Decades Of Prevailing Based On The Skilled Presentation Of Evidence And Facts

  1. Home
  2.  » Sexual Abuse

Seeking Civil Justice For Survivors Of Sexual Abuse

Personal injury takes many forms, from accidents caused by negligence to horrendous intentional acts that can leave physical and emotional scars for a lifetime. Sexual abuse is an example of the latter. Even if perpetrators of abuse manage to escape criminal prosecution, they can often be held civilly liable with the help of an experienced attorney.

At the Law Offices of John H. Howard, we provide tireless advocacy to sex abuse survivors nationwide with a special focus on Ventura, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara counties. Our legal team has more than 40 years of legal experience and offer personalized attention and support to clients. We have helped many other survivors, and we want to help you, too.

Who Can Be Held Liable For Sex Abuse

There are certainly cases in which the perpetrator alone is liable for committing sexual abuse. Often, however, the abuse was allowed to happen because of larger institutional failures. We have helped survivors bring sexual abuse claims against defendants that commonly include:

  • Immediate relatives and extended family
  • Clergy and churches
  • Coaches and teachers
  • Schools and school districts
  • Colleagues and employers
  • Nursing care facilities and staff members

If the person who abused you was in an institutional position of power, others may have been abused as well. We can represent individual plaintiffs or groups of plaintiffs in mass tort actions against the same perpetrator and/or organization.

Seeking Maximum Accountability For Your Injuries And Losses

The health and financial effects of sexual abuse are not as obvious as those of a car accident, but they can be equally life-changing. Depending on the details of your case, we may be able to help you recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Expenses related to therapy, medication and mental health treatment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages or lowered earning potential

For many sexual abuse survivors, coming forward is not primarily about the money. It is about seeking justice and personal empowerment. It is about finding peace and beginning to heal a long-open wound. By coming forward and holding their abusers accountable, survivors can also force institutional change and protect others from suffering the same abuse.

How Much Time Do You Have To Take Legal Action?

Sexual abuse survivors often suffer in silence for years or decades without telling anyone what happened to them. Sometimes, the memories are repressed and don’t come out until much later in life. Even without being conscious, however, the memories of sexual abuse can have devastating effects on a person’s mental and physical health.

Thankfully, California legislators in recent years have made it more possible for sex abuse survivors to overcome this common hurdle – at least when seeking justice in civil court. If you were sexually assaulted as an adult after January 1, 2019, you can file a civil suit related to your abuse. There are exceptions stipulated in the law that could impact certain cases, such as:

  • Within 10 years of the last act or attempted act of sexual assault
  • Within three years of discovering an injury or illness related to your sexual assault (if this discovery occurs later than the 10-year window mentioned above)

For a limited time, California legislators have also made it possible to take legal action for acts of abuse that occurred earlier. A law referred to as the “Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act” (AB 2777) opens a three-year window lasting from the beginning of 2023 through the end of 2026. During this time, survivors can pursue civil claims for acts of sexual abuse that occurred on or after January 1, 2009.

The best way to understand your legal options is to speak with an experienced and caring sex abuse survivor advocacy lawyer.

Learn About Your Legal Options

Taking legal action can feel scary or even overwhelming. The reassuring news is that you have nothing to lose by exploring your legal options. The Law Offices of John H. Howard offers free and confidential consultations to prospective clients throughout the Tri-Counties. You can tell us your story and learn how we can help, all without cost or obligation.

To get started, if you would like to contact us, please reach out online or call our Oxnard office at 805-309-9296.