Under the laws of Pennsylvania, victims of sexual abuse or assault may be entitled to make claims for financial compensation against the perpetrator as well as any other person or entity which knew of the abuse yet failed to stop it. In addition, other people or entities which knew of the risk of abuse, yet failed to prevent the abuse from occurring can also be held liable.
Financial compensation is the typical end result of a civil lawsuit, whether it’s a contract dispute or a civil sex abuse case. Pennsylvania’s court system is designed this way. Courts simply cannot enforce non-monetary judgments (i.e., those that are not jury verdict awards or settlements).
Financial compensation in any civil case varies and depends on the unique facts and circumstances of the case. Click here to read more about financial compensation in civil sex abuse cases in PA.
One of the key issues in any civil case is whether the victim will actually be able to receive financial compensation. In the vast majority of civil sex abuse cases, the actual perpetrator is simply unable to pay a financial compensation award. This does not mean that a victim should forgo seeking legal advice. A civil sex abuse lawyer will be able to discuss whether the victim should file a lawsuit.
Sex Abuse by a Person in a Position of Authority (Priest, Teacher, Etc.)
Sex abuse or sex assault is often perpetrated by a person in a position of authority. Oftentimes the abusers are people known to the victim. This includes:
Victims of sex abuse or assault by someone in a position of authority (i.e., priest, teacher, doctor, etc.) may be able to obtain financial compensation by filing a civil lawsuit against the abuser as well as the institution which harbored them. This includes a church or religious entity, a school or a hospital.
Sex Assault by a Stranger
Sex assault by a stranger is relatively uncommon, although more common in large cities like Philadelphia than in small towns. In many cases, victims may be able to obtain financial compensation from the abuser and/or a business which failed to protect the victim. For instance, a tenant of an apartment complex is assaulted by someone who gained access as a result of a previously known breach in security. The landlord may be liable to pay financial compensation to the tenant. Related: Pennsylvania Landlord Liability for Injury Resulting from Criminal Activity
Sex Abuse by a Relative
Sex abuse or assault by a relative is probably one of the most common types of sex abuse or molestation. Immediate family members and extended family members such as an aunt/uncle, cousin, etc., are all equally capable of committing various acts of sexual abuse. In addition, step-parents, foster parents and other parental figures may also commit sexual abuse. Oftentimes, victims are afraid to come forward or tell someone out of fear of causing family strife or losing their loved ones. For example, a child sexually abused by a foster parent fears losing her brothers and sisters, and so she stays quiet about the abuse.
Being able to obtain financial compensation in these kinds of cases depends on the facts of the case. In some instances, homeowners insurance may apply and be a source of financial compensation. Related: Homeowners’ Insurance May Provide Coverage for Victims of Assaults, Sexual Assaults & Shootings
Brian Kent, Former Prosecutor in Montgomery County, PA – FREE CASE REVIEW
Mr. Kent is a former prosecutor who has handled criminal sex crimes cases. He now represents victims in the civil courts. Please call the firm at Click To Call. Mr. Kent is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois.
DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. It is crucial to speak to a qualified lawyer prior to making any decision about your case. Read full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.