Question

Can Sexual Abuse Survivors File A Civil Lawsuit In New Mexico?

Joseph P. Kennedy - Civil Rights - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Joseph P. Kennedy

Kennedy Kennedy & Ives, LLC
Albuquerque, NM
Phone: 505-431-2167
Fax: 505-244-1406

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Answer

Yes. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, a civil lawyer can seek money damages from your abuser and their protectors to compensate you for the great emotional harm they have caused and to punish the abuser and anyone else who turned a blind eye to the abuse. In some cases, survivors can file a civil lawsuit many years after the abuse.

Successfully resolving a sexual abuse civil lawsuit may be your best chance at justice. Survivors need to work with an attorney who has litigated these types of cases in the past, as they are trained to ensure the process is successful, minimally intrusive and doesn’t retraumatize the plaintiff. A skilled attorney can be your best advocate and ensure obtaining justice is an empowering experience.

Protecting the Survivor

Attorneys who have not litigated sexual abuse cases often treat them like any other personal injury case. That is a tremendous disservice to the survivor. There are laws that limit discovery of a sexual abuse survivor’s sexual history and protect children from discovery abuse, for example. Attorneys with experience in these cases understand the importance doing everything in their power to protect the survivor throughout the legal process.

The Importance of Identifying the Full Depth of Damages Suffered

Sexual abuse survivors suffer serious physical and emotional injuries. The trauma can re-emerge at any time and negatively impacts overall health, education and career opportunities.

Attorneys without experience in these cases sometimes under value the massive impact the abuse has had and continues to have. Working with knowledgeable psychological and economic experts helps prove the full effects of abuse to a jury so survivors of sexual abuse get full compensation for all injuries suffered.

Holding Everyone Responsible for the Abuse Accountable

Abusers are likely to have victimized others before and, even when they have not, there are usual signs that they will. This history is likely known or should have been learned though observation or a thorough background check, by school districts, municipalities or any other public entities that employ an abuser. When an entity’s active protection of an abuser or negligence leads to sexual abuse, there is a potential path for a civil lawsuit.

Survivors can pursue legal action against the perpetrator as well, but holding the entities accountable that gave the abuser access to the victim ensures that everyone who is responsible is held accountable and helps prevent future abuse. Attorneys with experience in these cases know how entities hide evidence of their knowledge of the abuser and how to find it.

Civil Representation Can Improve the Criminal Process

Survivors often feel powerless in the criminal justice system. A civil lawsuit helps restore power to the survivor. A civil attorney can also help protect the survivor’s rights in criminal court.

Regardless of whether a criminal conviction occurs, survivors can pursue civil action against their abusers. In many cases, a lawsuit may be the best opportunity to fight back against an abuser, force them to answer for the pain that they have caused and get the necessary resources to heal and move forward from the trauma the abuser caused.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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