A considerable number of people have found themselves as victims of sexual abuse. The perpetrators could be total strangers, people they trusted, or people in positions of power. Unfortunately, the justice-seeking process has an expiration date, after which victims will be barred from seeking justice.
This means that time is a crucial factor in successfully pursuing compensation in Miami. Personal injury lawyers in Miami have been suing culprits of all forms of non-consensual sexual acts, and have helped their clients get total and maximum compensation. All these, within the timeframe set out in Florida laws.
What Determines How Long I Have to File?
Prosecutors and victims of various criminal offenses don’t have the pleasure of time when it comes to filing a petition in court. There are laws that prescribe how long you have to file your legal claim. These regulations are prescribed in the statute of limitations that apply to both criminal and civil matters.
In Florida, two separate statutes of limitations are used for sexual abuse cases. The criminal statute stipulates how much time the prosecutor has to file criminal charges against the perpetrator of sexual abuse. On the other hand, the civil statute provides the length of time that a victim of sexual abuse has to seek compensation for the harm caused in the incident.
It is also worth noting that the statute of limitations does not bind some sexual offenses. If a child is raped below 16 years, the offender will have committed statutory rape that has no time limit to file. For cases that happened before 30th June 2020, victims older than 16 but younger than 18, were bound or not bound by the statute of limitations depending on the facts of the case and other conditions.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Civil Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Miami?
Civil lawsuits are usually brought forward by the victims of the sexual abuse, because it is in their interest to get some form of compensation for their ordeal. This is the time limit for them to take action against the accused person:
- 4 years from when the victim stops depending on the abuser or abandons them
- 4 years from the time the victim discovers the relationship between their injuries and the abuse
- 7 years from when the victim reaches 18 years old
- No statute of limitations if the victim is below 18 years
In June 2020, the state of Florida passed Donna’s Law that fully eliminated all manner of the statute of limitations on actions related to sexual assault against anyone below 18 years. Previously, a minor between 16 years and 18 years had to report sexual misconduct within 72 hours to receive the waiver on the statute of limitations. The ones that didn’t report within that period had 3 years to file.
Currently, sexual offenses perpetrated against a minor in Miami can be brought to court at any time. Victims that need clarification on how much time they have left can speak to a Miami sexual abuse attorney for clarifications.
How Long Can One Wait to File a Criminal Sexual Abuse Case?
Unlike many states that have decided to lift the statute of limitations for felony-related sex crimes, Florida has only lifted the time limit for those related to minors. The rest of the lawsuits are time-bound, depending on the circumstances and the type of sex crime.
Most sexual assault crimes have a time limit of 4 years. But the standard statute of limitations for serious sex crimes is 10 years or less. There will be no time limit if the sex crime results in the victim’s death or if it is of similar nature.
Note that the criminal statute of limitations can change when new legislation is passed or amended. A Miami sexual abuse attorney is always informed of these changes and can make sure that your arguments align with the latest versions of the law.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Sexual Abuse Claim in Miami?
The main reason why you need a skilled sexual abuse lawyer in Miami to handle your case, is because of their rich knowledge about the law. One needs an in-depth understanding of the Florida laws to easily determine the possibilities of a criminal or civil sexual abuse case.
Experience is also necessary for proper representation in court. Notably, the crime involved and other facts of the case can impact the outcomes of a lawsuit in a Miami court. An experienced attorney is able to use the skills gathered over time to present your case in a way that can convince the judge that you deserve maximum compensation.
It is difficult for a layperson to keep up with the specific details of the statute of limitations. But an attorney specializing in representing clients who have been sexually assaulted has all that information at their fingertips.
Besides, you need support as you heal from the painful and traumatic ordeal. And the last thing you need in this state is to figure out how to navigate the criminal justice system by yourself. You also won’t want to lose out on your well-deserved compensation for not articulating your arguments well. Remember that the defendant will have their attorney defending them, and you might not get justice if they manage to plant doubts in the jury’s minds.
Lawyers Working Diligently to Get Clients Maximum Compensation
The days following an incident of sexual assault can be lonely and confusing for many victims of sexual abuse. As much as compensation will not take away the pain of that experience, it can help you cope better. The recovery path can take a toll on you financially, and you might spend a lot of money on the hospital and therapy bills.
A personal injury lawyer in Miami can ensure that you get damages for all the past, current, and future needs that relate to the injuries. Consider speaking to an attorney today to talk about justice.