If you’re a victim of clergy sexual abuse and are considering taking legal action against your abuser, you’re probably wondering if you have to go to trial for your church sex abuse case. Wanting to know whether you’ll have to appear in court is understandable, as being in the same room as an abuser can be extremely traumatic.
Though there is a chance that you might have to go to trial, most sex abuse plaintiffs don’t have to go to court to bring their abusers to justice and obtain financial remedies. Fortunately, the clergy sex abuse lawyers from White Law PLLC are here to explain why you might be able to avoid a courtroom appearance.
Your Church Sex Abuse Case Might Settle Before It Goes to Trial
According to United States Courts, the majority of civil cases settle before going to trial. To settle out of court, your attorney and the defendant’s attorney will work together to reach a settlement that, ideally, reflects the emotional suffering and other challenges you’ve faced due to the abuse you experienced.
Church sex abuse cases are even more likely to settle, because it’s often in the church’s best interest to avoid a court battle. Settling a case before trial allows the defendant and church to stay anonymous and avoid significant public scrutiny.
If your church sex abuse case settles before going to trial, you’ll be able to avoid seeing your abuser and attending a trial, both of which could bring up difficult memories and cause considerable emotional harm.
Your Fight Is Our Fight
You May Be Able to Attend the Trial Virtually
Unfortunately, some church sex abuse cases aren’t resolved between the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s attorneys. If that’s the case for you, you’ll have to participate in a court case. However, there are ways that you can attend the trial that help you avoid seeing your abuser.
When it comes to church sex abuse cases, courts often understand that attending a trial can trigger many deeply traumatic emotions for plaintiffs. That’s why, in many cases, the court will allow the plaintiff to appear at the trial virtually.
If you were to attend a trial virtually, you would likely be located in a different room of the court building. There, you’d provide your testimony via a video system, allowing you to participate in the trial without making contact with your abuser.
How Long Does a Church Sex Abuse Case Take?
As a plaintiff, you’ll likely want to settle or receive a verdict as soon as possible so as not to have the case weighing on your mind. The good news is that, since the catholic church has been targeted with countless abuse lawsuits in past years, they are more likely to agree to a settlement that meets the plaintiff’s needs.
That means there’s a good chance the settlement negotiation process won’t last that long. However, it could be a different story if your case goes to trial. Depending on the details of your case, it could take a year or more to reach a verdict.
To get a clearer picture of how long your church sex abuse case might take to settle or come to a resolution at trial, meet with an attorney. They’ll be able to answer any questions you have about your case and advise you on your best course of action moving forward.
We understand that you may be going through a difficult situation and we are ready to help however we can.
Remedies You Could Receive From a Church Sex Abuse Case
When you meet with a sex abuse attorney to discuss your case, they’ll ask you about the financial costs, pain, and psychological distress you’ve experienced as a result of the abuse you endured. Depending on the losses and challenges you’ve faced, your lawyer may pursue the following damages during your church sex abuse trial or settlement negotiation:
- Medical expenses for treatment of injuries or sexually transmitted infections you suffered due to abuse
- Cost of mental health counseling you’ve received to help you cope with the psychological effects of sexual abuse
- Pain and suffering, for any pain you experienced at the time that your abuse occurred and for any lasting or chronic pain you experience to this day
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
While no compensation can turn back time and prevent you from experiencing the abuse you endured, the abovementioned financial remedies can help facilitate your emotional healing and make your life a little easier despite the challenges you’ve faced.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
How Long You Have to File a Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against a Church or Clergy Member
If you intend to pursue damages by filing a sex abuse lawsuit against a church, clergy member, or bishop, you may have limited time to do so. That’s because most states have a statute of limitations for sex abuse cases that limit the amount of time you have from the last date that the abuse occurred to submit a civil suit.
Since the statute of limitations varies state by state, you’ll want to contact a sex abuse attorney to find out how long you have to take legal action. If you’ve met with a lawyer before about filing a suit and were told that it’s too late for you to do so, you may be interested to learn that many states are starting to change their statutes.
Since many states are opening up their statutes for church sex abuse cases, victims who haven’t been able to take action in the past may be able to take their cases to trial in the near future.
If you are a victim of abuse and have been previously unable to seek justice due to your state’s filing restrictions, contact a lawyer to find out if your state’s deadline is expected to change.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Compassionate Attorney From Our Team
At White Law PLLC, our lead attorney, Jamie White, has advocated on behalf of countless sexual abuse victims, including hundreds of Boy Scouts of America victims, clergy sex abuse victims, and other individuals who have experienced abuse.
Our entire team understands how difficult it can be to come forward with a sex abuse suit, which is why we’ll do everything we can to make you feel comfortable during the legal process.
Contact us today and schedule a free consultation with an attorney from our firm to discuss your case and learn more about the factors that determine whether or not you have to go to trial for a church sex abuse case.
We’re Experienced. We Care.
We Exceed Client Expectations.