When you’ve experienced sexual abuse in Illinois, it can be difficult to come forward with your experience right away. Once you understand what’s happened to you and you gain the courage to hold your abuser accountable, it’s essential to press charges against the culprit in both criminal and civil court. By charging them criminally and civilly, you’ll be punishing your abuser to the full extent.

The police may handle the criminal portion of your case and a Chicago sexual abuse lawyer can support you through the civil court process. Your civil case will provide you with the compensation you need to seek treatment for any damages you’ve suffered from the abuse, which may be physical but can also be mental and emotional. To move forward, you must first know how the legal process works.

Determining Who’s Liable

When filing a lawsuit for sexual abuse in Illinois, you must assess your situation and determine who to sue. Although you can sue your abuser for what they’ve done to you, you may also hold other people liable for your abuse.

For example, if you were sexually abused at school, at church, in jail, in a nursing home, or at another organization, it’s possible that the organization had a responsibility to keep you safe. You can prove negligence against the organization that employed your abuser or failed to protect you against your abuser if you want to hold all parties accountable for what happened.

How to Prove Abuse in Court

Proving abuse in court will require evidence, which can come in the form of medical records, witness testimonies, or your own personal testimony. The court convicts many sexual abuse assailants using multiple testimonies of abuse, because abusers typically have more than one victim.

If you press criminal charges against your abuser, you can use evidence from criminal court to prove abuse in your civil court case.

The Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for sexual abuse in Illinois is complex. If your sexual abuse happened before you were eighteen years old, then you’ll have twenty years after you turn eighteen to file your sexual abuse lawsuit. The twenty-year statute of limitations is extended, however, if you don’t realize you were abused until a later date.

If you were sexually abused after you were eighteen years old, the statute of limitations is two years, which is the same as other personal injury cases.

How a Lawyer Can Help

An experienced sexual abuse lawyer in Chicago can be helpful in handling your case. Your legal team can negotiate on your behalf to get you the maximum settlement and make you feel more confident as you navigate the legal process.

Speaking up about sexual abuse isn’t easy, but it’s essential if you want justice for what’s happened to you. It’s also essential if you want to prevent further abuse from occurring. The settlement you receive can help you get the treatment you need to pick up the pieces of your life.