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Are You A Child Abuse Survivor? You May Be Able To File A Personal Injury Lawsuit

Many times, victims of child abuse suffer silently. They may not have the support of a trusted adult or they may not realize that any harm is being done to them. But then they reach adulthood and start realizing the trauma that was inflicted on them. Many adults who lived through child abuse have post traumatic stress syndrome and some are incapable of leading normal lives due to the abuse they received. Fortunately, the victims may file personal injury lawsuits against their abusers. If this sounds like you, you may find restitution for your pain and suffering. Here's what you need to know.

Statute of Limitations vs. Discovery of Harm Rule

While the statute of limitations in your state may not allow you to file a civil lawsuit, there is still a chance that charges can be pressed due to the discovery of harm rule. The discovery of harm rule states that the clock doesn't start ticking until you discovered that you were harmed. For example, you may have been sexually abused at a young age, but didn't remember it until you were in your adulthood when something triggered your memory. If this happened to you in Arkansas, you would have only 3 years to file a civil claim for childhood sexual abuse.

Another example may be when your doctor informs you that your back problems are related to a previous injury from when you were a child, one that you do not remember because you were too young. Upon asking relatives, friends and neighbors, you learn that those injuries were the result of domestic violence against you. The point of discovery, when your doctor informed you of your previous injuries, is when the countdown starts for the statute of limitations.

One thing that is important to understand is the statute of limitations is different for criminal and civil courts in most states. A criminal conviction is entirely different from a civil lawsuit. Even if you are able to file a criminal charge against your abuser, a civil lawsuit is a way to seek monetary compensation for the pain and suffering you endured, and the long-term affects that are associated with childhood abuse.

Health Problems in Adulthood that Are Associated with Child Abuse

According to the National Institutes of Health, there may be a wide range of various long-term health problems in adults who were abused as children. Health problems include anxiety, depression, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, eating disorders, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. Many of those who were abused as children tend to engage in behaviors that are high-risk, such as smoking, excessive drinking, using drugs and having frequent, unsafe sex.

Sometimes, these health problems and behavior issues can cause the victims to have problems gaining employment and remaining employed. To find the relation between any of these things and the abuse you suffered as a child, you may need to get a mental health evaluation and a complete health workup. Your mental health and medical team may provide testimony for a personal injury lawsuit.

The Financial Aspects of Filing a Lawsuit

One thing that concerns most people when it comes to paying legal fees and a lawyer's retainer is being able to come up with the money. However, if you have a strong case, a lawyer may represent you based on a contingency fee. If so, then you wouldn't need to pay the lawyer until after your case is won and your settlement is received. Keep in mind, however, that just because a case is won doesn't mean that the defendant will pay.

However, the defendant can be ordered by the court to pay the settlement. If the defendant does not pay after being ordered to, then he or she could lose their driving privileges. Their driver's license can be rescinded by the state until they have met their financial obligations of paying the settlement.

If you are an adult survivor of child abuse, speak with a personal injury lawyer, from a firm like Arrington Schelin & Munsey PC, about your case. While a lawsuit will not fix things that happened in your childhood, it may help you cope with the long-term affects as an adult.