While many injuries are caused by accidents, some devastating injuries are caused by egregious acts committed by people in a position of trust. For example, many children and adults suffer harm because of sexual abuse perpetrated by people responsible for caring for them. Sexual abuse often causes irreparable harm, and the people who engage in abusive acts or allow abuse to continue should be held liable. If you or your loved one suffered injuries due to sexual abuse, you should consult an attorney regarding your options for seeking recourse. The New Hampshire sexual abuse lawyers at Stephen Law Group are mindful of the immense losses that sexual abuse can cause, and we will fight tirelessly to help you recover all the compensation that you may be owed.Common Situations Involving Sexual Abuse
In most cases, sexual abuse is committed by a person entrusted with guiding or caring for children or adults with disabilities. For example, sexual abuse often occurs in nursing homes and daycare and after school facilities. Additionally, children are frequently victims of abuse by coaches, teachers, and religious leaders. Sexual abuse can cause physical harm, and it often results in significant psychological trauma, which means that a victim of abuse may become depressed, anxious, or withdrawn.Claims Arising out of Sexual Abuse
In many instances, sexual abuse is not reported when it occurs, especially when the victim is a child. However, the New Hampshire legislature has enacted laws that allow children who are victims of sexual abuse to pursue claims until their 30th birthday, and in some cases, longer. Adults harmed by sexual abuse must pursue claims within three years of the date of the abuse. A sexual abuse attorney in New Hampshire can assist you in taking prompt legal action.
There are numerous causes of action that a victim may be able to pursue in a case arising out of sexual abuse. Regardless of the precise causes of action asserted, the plaintiff must show that the defendant engaged in an act that caused the plaintiff to suffer actual harm. Possible claims include negligence, which requires an injured person to show that the defendant had a duty to act with reasonable care, but the defendant breached the duty, causing the injured person to suffer harm. If the abuser was engaged in their job activities when the abuse occurred, their employer may be vicariously liable for the abuser’s conduct as well. Additionally, if the abuse occurred at a facility that receives federal funds, or if it was perpetrated by a government employee, the plaintiff may be able to pursue claims for a violation of their civil rights.
An injured person may also be able to pursue claims for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress. In an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, the injured person and a New Hampshire sexual abuse attorney must show that the defendant engaged in extreme conduct that recklessly or intentionally caused severe emotional distress that resulted in significant emotional and mental harm, accompanied by physical symptoms. In a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, by contrast, the injured person only needs to show that the defendant’s negligence caused serious mental and emotional harm, coupled with physical symptoms, and that the harm was foreseeable.Damages Recoverable in a Sexual Abuse Case
The damages recoverable in a sexual abuse case may include the cost of any medical treatment that the victim needed to undergo due to the abuse, including counseling or psychiatric care, and the cost of any treatment that the victim will need in the future. If the plaintiff could not work because of the abuse, he or she may be awarded compensation for lost wages as well. Typically, a plaintiff who proves liability in a sexual abuse case also will be awarded substantial damages for the mental and emotional harm caused by the abuse.Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Sexual abuse often shatters the lives of its victims, and abusers should be held accountable for the lasting harm that they cause. At Stephen Law Group, our sexual abuse lawyers assist victims in New Hampshire and in many areas of Massachusetts. We have offices throughout both states, and you can reach us at 877-663-1007 or via our online form to schedule a meeting.