Our Michigan sexual assault lawyers will help if you or someone you care about was a sex abuse victim. Most victims suffer in silence for years and even decades due to fear of retribution, humiliation, and uncertainty. Many victims are afraid that no one will believe them, or even worse, that nothing will happen to the abuser.
Sexual assault, abuse, mistreatment, and molestation are devastating and traumatic events that no person should endure. A strong legal advocate can bring bring you justice and help you get your life back. By filing a sex abuse lawsuit, you will hold the abuser and those that enabled the conduct accountable. Our law firm has won substantial settlements in sex assault lawsuits.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Michigan has specific criminal sexual misconduct laws. These laws list the types of unlawful conduct, including the ages of victims and positions of abusers. The laws also set for the particular acts and types of conduct for all scenarios.
Sex abuse generally involves unwanted sexual contact. It not only covers fondling and touching of a sexual nature, but also acts of oral sex and penetration. In many situations, like those involving minors, a perpetrator cannot argue consent as a defense.
Many times, the assault is more subtle. An example would be a doctor going outside the boundaries of a typical exam. Or, it might be a massage therapist using fingers and hands outside the massage zone. Many victims often feel uncomfortable at the time, but are too afraid to object or say anything. It is only at a later time they feel empowered to tell what happened to them.
Sexual Assault Statistics
Unfortunately, it is common that many individuals will experience some form of sexual misconduct, violence, or assault in their lives. In fact, for children alone, The Crimes Against Children Research Center reports the following statistics:
- More than 50 percent of youth have experienced some form of physical assault
- One in 12 children have been sexually victimized
- One-seventh of the child population has been maltreated
However, while the past cannot be erased, you have legal options and can benefit from consulting a compassionate Michigan sexual assault lawyer if you or a loved one was abused. Before pursuing compensation, it is important to understand the state-specific laws that govern how and when civil action can be taken. A knowledgeable attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. can answer your questions, explain your rights, and work tirelessly to request the compensation you deserve.
Common Types of Sexual Abuse Cases
Sexual abuse lawsuits are filed against both the abuser and any entity that employed them or knowingly enabled their conduct. Many times, complaints made by victims are minimized or just swept under the rug. As a result, abusers remain free and have access to more potential victims.
Many sex abusers are serial abusers. They assault victims over and over again and are never held accountable for their actions. Many abusers are in positions of power over their victims. They use that power to force or coerce their sickening behavior on others.
Sexual assaults can occur from family members, strangers, and other people. However, many abusers are professionals or others in trusted positions. These include:
- Massage therapists
- Members of the clergy
- Boy scout leaders
- Uber & Lyft Drivers
Our sexual assault lawyers have sued physicians, hospitals, coaches, massage therapists, and others who sexually abuse innocent victims. We have won substantial settlements for our clients and will do the same for you. We are friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to help you.
The Physical and Emotional Effects of Sex Abuse
The damage caused by a sexual assault is both physical and emotional. The damage affects the victim for a lifetime and often becomes more severe as a person grows older.
Many victims have difficulty have sustained relations and never fully trust anyone. It impacts sexual relationships, job performance, and causes destructive behaviors. Victims often never feel comfortable in their own skin and keep their abuse silent for fear of how they will be perceived by others.
Children who are sexually assaulted often have more noticeable affects. These include:
- Changes in their behavior, such as being less social, more introverted, and performing poorly on their schoolwork.
- Anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
- Engaging in sexual deviant behavior themselves on other victims.
Many parents notice these changes in their child, but are unaware of the reason for the change. Doctors and medical professionals are trained to detect signs of sexual abuse in children. They have a professional and legal duty to report those behaviors to police authorities to protect the child.
Filing a Sex Assault Lawsuit in Michigan
Because unwanted sexual contact could result in both civil and criminal cases, it is vital that anyone looking to pursue compensation for sexual abuse understands the difference between each.
Under Michigan law, a survivor of sexual abuse can pursue criminal charges up to fifteen years after an incident. Furthermore, if DNA evidence is available, this time restriction might be waived. These cases are brought by prosecutors in cities and counties throughout the state and seek to punish the offender.
A civil lawsuit is brought by the victim for the purpose of demanding money compensation for the abuser. Cases are also filed against the entities and institutions that employed the abuser and failed to prevent the abuse. Many times, institutions ignore or fail to act on warning signs and evidence that would have prevented harm from occurring.
A conviction during a criminal case can help to bolster a civil lawsuit. Police investigations and witness statements can be used to prove the civil lawsuits. However, under Michigan Compiled Law §600.5805(6), a criminal charge does not need to be brought forward in order for a claimant to file a civil case.
Settlements and Compensation for Victims
Victims can claim several types of recoverable damages under Michigan law. The first type is for non-economic damages. These include compensation for pain and suffering, physical injury, emotional distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The second type of damages is for economic losses. Many victims require intensive mental health care, including counseling and treatment. Lawsuits demand payment for both past care and to pay for future needed treatment.
Additionally, many victims have difficulty completing their education or keeping gainful employment due to the emotional harm suffered by the abuse. Claims can be made for loss of income and future earnings caused by the trauma.
How much Time is there to File a Sex Abuse Lawsuit?
Anyone looking to file a civil lawsuit based on sexual abuse or misconduct should be aware of the state’s statute of limitations. Michigan law was changed in 2018 to expand the time deadlines for filing civil lawsuits for cases involving sexual assault as well as for criminal prosecution for victims under the age of eighteen.
The new law expanded the statute of limitations from three to 10 years for crimes of criminal sexual assault and 10 years to file a civil suit to claim damages. Childhood sexual assault victims could file civil suits until they are 28 years old depending on their age at the time of the abuse. This law gives victims substantially more time to pursue their legal rights and compensation than previously allowed.
Anyone looking to file a sexual abuse claim should contact an experienced Michigan attorney immediately to avoid missing the opportunity to file a legal action.
Call Our Michigan Sexual Assault Lawyers
Filing a civil suit against the perpetrator of sexual abuse can provoke anxiety and uncertainty in a potential claimant. Moreover, navigating the rules of the court, as well as changes in Michigan law can be daunting and intimidating.
If you were the victim of sexual misconduct or abuse, our dedicated Michigan sexual abuse lawyers can help you. We will gather all of the evidence needed to prove your case and win you a settlement. We charge no legal fees unless you win a settlement and we put that in writing for you.
To learn more, reach out to our legal professionals at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Sex Abuse Resources and Advocacy Efforts
If you have experienced sexual violence, it is important to find help or call the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). For more information and additional resources, click here.
Furthermore, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) provides online links to state advocacy groups that work for the betterment of child welfare. Many create dialogues with lawmakers when they deem a need for adjustments to the law.
Sexual Abuse & Sexual Assault Victim Resources
- Michigan Legislature (The Michigan Penal Code)
- Sexual Assault Prevention & Awareness Center (University of Michigan)
- Michigan Domestic & Sexual Violence Prevention & Treatment Board (Teen Dating Violence)
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
- Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering & Tracking (SMART)
- The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
- 29000 Inkster Road
Southfield, MI 48034
- Phone: (248) 595-7544
- 19 Clifford St.
Suite 805 Merchants Row
Detroit, MI 48226
- Phone: (313) 992-8281
- 1001 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
- Phone: (313) 777-8482
- 343 S. Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
- Phone: (734) 888-3003
- 51424 Van Dyke Ave
Shelby Township, MI 48316
- Phone: (586) 250-2626