Understanding Your Legal Options as a Sexual Abuse Victim in Harrisburg
Victims of sexual abuse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania are not powerless — in fact they have many legal protections. If you are the victim of sexual abuse in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contact an attorney immediately.
While the below information is helpful, nothing compares to the knowledge and guidance you will receive from an experienced lawyer. At Andreozzi & Foote, PC our compassionate legal team can help you determine if your case as merit and what your next step should be.
Pursuing sexual abuse charges in Harrisburg
Pursing sexual abuse charges against someone is a personal decision. As such, you must be prepared for the road ahead and take the following considerations into account:
- You must be ready to pursue a case — You need to be emotionally ready to pursue your case because no one can do it for you. However, you should know that the overwhelming response from our clients is that the process is much easier than they anticipated.
- Pursuing sexual abuse charges empowers you — From the very beginning, you, the survivor, are empowered by being able to make important decisions such as “do I want to seek an early resolution to my claim and possibly an out of court settlement” or “do I want to file a lawsuit and attempt to publicly expose the truth.”
- Experienced legal team protects your privacy — At Andreozzi + Foote, we understand that you do not want your sexual abuse case to define you. You deserve to maintain your privacy and resume your life without people uncovering your case with a Google search. As a result, we frequently provide sexual assault victims with the choice of filing a lawsuit employing a pseudonym like “John Doe” so that they can move forward with their sexual abuse case anonymously.
Protection of our clients doesn’t stop there. Our legal team scrutinizes every option to achieve the most optimal result with the least impact on your life possible. Let us stress about your case so you can focus on resuming your daily life.
Limitations to pursuing a sexual abuse case in Harrisburg
While Pennsylvania law favors victims of sexual abuse, it does have certain limitations.
- Statute of limitations — While you may be “emotionally” ready to file sexual abuse charges, your case must be within the statute of limitations. If the legal time allowed for lawsuit has passed, you may be barred from taking action.
- Case is unviable — The fact that you were abused, and your case is not time barred does not mean your case is viable. If you are attempting to hold a business, organization, institution, or third party liable for sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, that party must have owed you a duty of care and must have violated that duty of care. In many cases, we establish this by proving the defendant was negligent in retaining, supervising, or hiring the abuser, or that the defendant did not adopt and implement necessary protocols and procedures to protect children.
- Viable case not worth pursuing — Unfortunately, you may have a viable sexual abuse case that law firms will not touch. This is extremely upsetting and frustrating for victims and law firms like Andreozzi + Foote who are dedicated to fighting for survivors. In some cases, clients ask our team to pursue a case directly against a victim’s abuser. However, the sad reality is that many defendants do not have enough money to satisfy a judgement. As a result, law firms that operate on a contingency fee basis, make nothing. Thus, the best options for sexual abuse victims seeking justice against their perpetrators can be found in the criminal justice system.
It is also important to recognize that Pennsylvania law does not require all businesses to carry liability insurance, and many companies that do carry insurance have exclusions for molestation and sexual assault.
Where in Pennsylvania Should I pursue My Sexual Abuse Case?
Like much of the country, juries in Pennsylvania uphold the values of our criminal justice system and do not tolerate sexual abuse against anyone. That said, we almost always recommend our abuse clients strive for Philadelphia whenever possible.
In our vast legal experience, we have found Harrisburg jurors to be the most sympathetic in the state.
Some other important information you should understand about pursuing your sexual abuse case follows:
- Sexual abuse verdicts are higher in Harrisburg than any other part of the state. Since defendants know that juries award excessive verdicts in Harrisburg, they often rush to settle out of court and for a much higher sum.
- We also urge clients to pursue charges in Philadelphia, because its court system is better equipped to move a large volume of cases in an expeditious and organized fashion.
- Soon after your lawsuit is filed, a preliminary conference will be set up among the attorneys and a court representative in order to set deadlines for your case and ensure there are no unnecessary delays — we generally find that defendants will attempt to delay cases as long as conceivable and the court system in Philadelphia does not permit such tactics that typically work in other parts of Pennsylvania.
- Your abuser will attempt to have the case removed to another County or even Federal Court — Philadelphia is not ideal for them.
- A Philadelphia judge will examine your case, review issues like the links between the defendants and Harrisburg and determine if your case can stay in Harrisburg.
While we prefer Philadelphia County for our survivor clients, at Andreozzi + Foote also has a history of considerable success in the surrounding suburban counties, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.
What Damages are available for Sexual abuse victims in Harrisburg?
We tailor our approach to meet the unique needs and goals of each survivor client we represent.
Although the civil system has its limits (i.e., we generally cannot collect damages against the abuser, we cannot force the police to criminally charge negligent or intentional actors, etc.) we are able to help in many other ways.
The simple process of taking action against your abuser begins a journey that many clients find to be cathartic and healing. The process can transform you from a “victim” to a survivor. For many, this is even more liberating and powerful than any financial reward.
Through the discovery process, we are able to obtain and review documents and witness statements related to your case that can shed new light on your abuser/abuse. Further, it can force organizations, such as religious institutions like the Mormon or Catholic church, to produce information, particularly in cases where they have maintained secret files, and thus put an end to future abuse.
We strive to maximize the financial recovery for your case because we understand the impact the abuse has had on your life. But we also understand the importance of non-economic results and making sure something like this never happens again.
Get A Free Attorney Consultation in Harrisburg
At Andreozzi + Foote in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, we are committed to helping sexual abuse survivors find closure and justice. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our compassionate attorneys, call 866-311-8640, or reach us online.