The last 20 years have unveiled many clergy abuse cases within religious institutions such as the Catholic and Mormon Churches or societal organizations like the Boy Scouts of America. The vast number of cases flooded the legal system, creating a bottleneck in the legal process and a growing concern for victims who were seeking justice and closure.
Thousands of victims came forward, and billions of dollars were paid out, but each case had its own set of unique details that made gauging the resolution timeframe nearly impossible. However, there are commonalities among the components that impact a clergy abuse case. This article will touch lightly on what those are and what a survivor can do to help their case.
Knowing how long it will take to settle your clergy abuse lawsuit may be important due to financial hardships or your mental health. The resolution of your case is affected by many things, and our lawyers, who have successfully represented other sexual abuse survivors, have compiled information from their cases to help you navigate this recovery journey as best you can.
What Is the Legal Process for Filing a Clergy Abuse Claim?
Clerical sexual abuse has occurred for centuries, but legal action against the abusers and the institutions didn’t begin until the late 1980s and early 2000s. According to Wikipedia, many organizations simply moved the abuser to other places in an attempt to cover up the abuse. Traction spread after the Boston Globe’s investigation, and the court system felt the surge.
Depending on the particulars of the case and the state where the abuse took place, the legal procedure for bringing a claim for clergy abuse may change. However, there are a few standard procedures that are usually followed:
- Consult with a lawyer: The first step in the legal process is to meet with a qualified clergy abuse lawyer who can assess your situation and provide you with recommendations regarding your legal alternatives.
- Investigation: The lawyer will look into your case to find evidence to back it up. This can entail speaking with witnesses, looking over church archives, and getting medical information.
- Claim submission: Following the conclusion of the investigation, the lawyer may submit a claim to the church or any other accountable entity, such as a diocese or religious order. The claims of abuse and the compensation you seek are often described in the claim.
- Negotiation: The church or its agents may enter into negotiations with your attorney to reach a settlement after the claim has been filed. Resolution techniques like mediation or others might be used in this.
- Litigation: A trial may be necessary if a settlement cannot be reached. Both sides will present evidence and arguments during the trial, and a judge or jury will decide the case’s conclusion.
It is essential to remember that the legal process might be lengthy and intricate. Working with a successful law firm that can walk you through each step of the procedure and explain your rights and options is critical.
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What Factors Control How Fast or Slow Your Case Moves Through the Legal System?
It may be impossible to provide a timeline of how long it takes to settle a clerical abuse case, but identifying the components that affect its progression is easy. This list will vary for each case, but the following conditions can contribute to your clergy abuse case being resolved slowly or quickly:
- Health status
- Extent of injuries
- Parties involved
- History of abuse
- Age of victim
- Effectiveness of legal counsel
- Quality of evidence
- Speed of court system
Some clergy abuse survivors will win their cases in a matter of months, while others may have to wait years for compensatory damages. What matters most is that victims are provided resources to recover beyond the financial harm that they have endured when they partner with a reputable personal injury law firm that cares about their overall well-being.
What Can Be Done To Expedite Your Clergy Abuse Claim?
Now that it is general knowledge that your circumstances determine how long your legal battle continues, we would like to inform you of things that you can do as a survivor to help your case along. Consider the following in an attempt to expedite your clergy abuse case:
- Visit a healthcare professional immediately after experiencing abuse, whether it be a doctor or therapist, to document and treat your injuries.
- Keep a record of your interactions with the abuser or details about what was done when you alerted the institution or sought help. This can include journal entries, photographs, or video or audio recordings.
- Speak with a clergy abuse attorney via email, phone, or in person to gain insight into what your legal alternatives are and what you can do to collect solid proof for your clergy abuse lawsuit.
You are not alone in this and can receive compassionate, guided support from our legal advisors if you or someone you know has fallen victim to clerical abuse.
We understand that you may be going through a difficult situation and we are ready to help however we can.
Things to Avoid While Waiting For Your Clergy Abuse Case To be Resolved
The length of time it takes to resolve your clergy abuse case will unfold naturally, but there are things that you can do to avoid compromising the success of your abuse injury claim. When waiting for your case to be resolved, avoid the following:
Contact with Your Abuser
Contacting the abuser or the organization that failed to protect you should be avoided at all costs. While the investigation is still pending, things can be said or done that may compromise your lawsuit or your health, and it is important to protect the integrity of both.
Ignoring Your Health
Your health is a priority above all else; therefore, doctor’s visits or therapy appointments should not be missed. Additionally, when seeking damages, adhering to your treatment plan will be reviewed to determine how much your settlement needs to be to cover your recovery.
Posting to Social Media
Discussing your case with anyone who is not your attorney can jeopardize it tremendously. When posting on social media or speaking with those close to you, refrain from speaking about case details.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
How To Win a Clerical Abuse Settlement Claim
Winning a clergy abuse case within a designated time frame is unrealistic, but there are controllable factors that can help your case. There are also legal deadlines that are imperative to claiming a settlement. The most important thing that you can do to improve your chances of success is to contact an experienced clergy abuse lawyer and collect as much evidence as possible.
After experiencing a traumatic event like clergy abuse, you deserve empathy, support, and full transparency. There is no guarantee that you will win your case or collect millions of dollars in a settlement, but with the right legal team on your side, you have a greater chance of success and collecting a settlement that can cover the damages you have incurred from being abused.
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