Do you suspect that someone you love may have been sexually abused? There are some definite signs that you should consult a sexual abuse lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Cody, Wyoming, and that you do it right away.
Do You Need to Consult a Sexual Abuse Lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Cody, Wyoming? 12 Reasons Not to Wait
The Abuse Needs to Stop Now
The most compelling reason not to wait to consult an attorney if you suspect sexual abuse is that if it’s occurring, it needs to stop now. If you wait even a short while to report what you suspect, you run the risk of your loved one continuing to be abused or you give the perpetrator time to abuse someone else. It’s best to consult an attorney immediately so they can investigate the situation and advise you on filing a report.
You may wonder if talking to an attorney is the right thing to do if you aren’t sure your loved one is being abused. The answer is that it’s better to report your suspicions to someone you trust and go from there than to keep them to yourself and potentially allow the abuse to continue. If you’re the one who’s being abused, an attorney can help you find mental health resources as well as assist with filing a report.
The Victim’s Rights Need to Be Protected
No matter the age of the victim, it’s critical that you retain an attorney to protect their legal rights. The accused perpetrator is going to have a lawyer to defend them in court, and while the victim doesn’t need an attorney during the criminal phase, they should still have someone to consult throughout the process. Their attorney can provide statements to the press, prepare witnesses for testimony, and file any paperwork or documents on their behalf.
Moreover, you want an attorney present during all legal phases so that they know the case forward and backward. This is because once the criminal trial has concluded, the victim can pursue personal injury damages in civil court. While you can wait to hire an attorney when you’re ready to pursue compensation, it’s recommended that you hire one as soon as possible to ensure the victim’s rights are protected and represented at all times.
Another Entity May Be Partially Responsible
Depending on who the perpetrator is, it’s possible that another entity could bear some responsibility for the abuse the victim suffered. For example, if a teacher is the perpetrator, the school or district may have some liability for what happened. You’ll want an experienced lawyer to investigate these issues, which may not be readily apparent, to ensure that everyone involved is held responsible for their part in the abuse, especially if they worked to hide or minimize it.
Some other instances where another entity may be partially liable in a sexual abuse case include a church, if a clergyman or pastor is the perpetrator; a hospital, if a doctor, nurse, or therapist is the perpetrator; a private company, if an employee is the perpetrator; a police department, if a police officer is the perpetrator; and a sports team, if a coach, other player, or staff member was the perpetrator. In any case, an attorney can help identify all potential defendants.
The Statute of Limitations Could Run Out
In Wyoming, there are different statutes of limitations for filing a lawsuit for sexual abuse depending on the age of the victim. A child who’s been sexually abused has until eight years following their 18th birthday, or three years from discovery, to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser. Adult victims of sexual abuse have four years from the event to file a personal injury lawsuit. There’s no statute of limitations on criminal charges for sexual abuse in Wyoming.
If you’re close to the statute of limitations for a sexual abuse case, even if criminal charges haven’t been filed, it’s important not to wait to consult with an attorney. Once the statute of limitations expires for your circumstances, you won’t ever be able to pursue compensation. The perpetrator could still face criminal charges, but you won’t receive any money that you could deserve for everything you’ve suffered through. This applies to both the perpetrator and any other liable parties.
You Need Someone on Your Side
Sexual abuse is an extremely emotional topic and you could find it difficult to discuss what’s happened to your or your loved one, even if it’s to hold the perpetrator responsible. Hiring an attorney will allow you to take a backseat during these discussions because your lawyer will take over and do the talking. They have handled numerous sexual abuse cases, so they know how to deal with the emotions that arise during the proceedings.
Your job following a sexual abuse incident is to heal or to help your loved one heal. The stress of the legal aspects of the case is not something you should be dealing with, especially since an attorney is better equipped to manage your case from a legal perspective. They know what documents to file, what letters to send, and when it all needs to be done so that you have the best possible chance of recovering compensation.
You Need Money to Seek Justice
The hard facts are that it can be expensive to get justice in a sexual abuse case. You may need to hire an investigator, financial experts, medical experts, and other personnel to help litigate your case. You want it to be as solid of a case as possible, so you have to spend money to seek compensation from your perpetrator and any other entity that’s responsible for what happened to your or your loved one.
By retaining a lawyer right away, some of this financial burden can be lessened for you because a personal injury lawyer who specializes in sexual abuse cases will typically take your case on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t pay anything for your representation or the resources used in your case unless you get a compensation settlement or win a financial award in court. This gives you the opportunity to seek justice without worrying about the cost.
You’re Not Sure If Abuse Occurred
Talking to an attorney if you’re not sure whether sexual abuse occurred can be a great way to sort out your thoughts and find out if you should pursue charges and compensation. You might not feel comfortable going to the police if you’re not 100% sure the abuse happened, but you also don’t want it to continue or go unpunished if it has. An experienced attorney in sexual abuse cases can help you determine whether you have a case.
The attorney can also advise you on your next steps, which may include filing a police report, filing a claim with a company’s insurer, and finding medical help for the victim. You don’t want to wait if you suspect abuse may have occurred, because if it has, you need to get the victim help right away. A lawyer can provide you with resources and facilities that provide services to victims of sexual abuse.
There’s too much at stake in a sexual abuse case to delay in speaking with an attorney. Contact Ochs Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation and get on the path toward justice.