Sexual abuse, mistreatment, and molestation are devastating and traumatic events that no person should have to endure. 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 abuse 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.
Filing a Sex Abuse 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. These claims may arise from strangers, doctors, members of the clergy, boy scout leaders, and teachers, among others.
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 difficult 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.
The Statute of Limitations for a Sexual Abuse Claim
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.
Speak with a Michigan Sexual Abuse Attorney About Pursuing a Claim
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.
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