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When you are victimized, it can wreak havoc on your life. Your sense of trust and the very core of your identity can be changed in an instant, leaving you feeling violated. These effects can be lifelong, requiring extensive therapy and hard work to move past and go back to leading a functional life. This can lead to financial difficulty—an added worry on top of a mountain of other problems. However, you do not have to suffer in silence, and whether or not you pursue criminal charges against your abuser, you can pursue legal action in civil court. If you need a molestation victim lawyer in Redondo Beach, contact Okabe and Haushalter to learn more about the benefits of filing a civil suit.
As a victim of molestation, you have options under both criminal and civil law in the state of California. You can opt to press criminal charges against your abuser, but even if you decide for whatever reason to avoid criminal court, it does not mean you cannot file a civil suit because of your abuse.
Not all courtrooms are the same. Civil law and criminal law are distinct from each other, and while some people may choose to pursue criminal charges and also file a civil suit, it is possible to do one without the other. What are the differences between civil court and criminal court?
Criminal court seeks to establish whether or not a criminal offense has taken place, and if so, who has offended. In other words, the job of the criminal court is to find out whether a crime has been committed and if so, who is guilty of committing the crime. Once this has been established, the criminal court assigns penalties to the guilty party based on the specific laws that were broken.
Civil court, unlike criminal court, seeks to establish which parties were liable or negligent in terms of causing damages. The negligent or liable party is then made to pay out based on the value of the damages incurred. For victims of molestation, damages may include the cost of medical bills, therapy bills or lost wages resulting from the abuse they lived through.
If you want your abuser—or any third parties whose negligence facilitated your abuse—to pay for the damage they did, a civil suit may be an appropriate path for you to take. For example, if you were molested while hospitalized and hospital staff were aware and turned a blind eye to your abuse, the hospital, as well as your abuser, could be held liable for their negligence in civil court.
Surviving molestation can be a difficult journey, but it is not one you have to take alone. If you need a molestation victim lawyer in Redondo Beach, the attorneys at Okabe and Haushalter can assist you with your case. Our knowledgeable staff can assist you with your civil court case and will keep you informed every step of the way. You could be entitled to receive a cash award, so contact us for a free consultation.