NJ Sexual Abuse Lawyers Help Victims Recover Damages Because of Institutional Negligence

Sexual abuse attorneys in Ridgewood serving northern New Jersey

Sexual abuse is a crime that anyone can fall victim to, regardless of age, gender or race. It is often a crime that the victim can do little to prevent and it leaves a devastating impact. This is why we find it so important to help survivors hold accountable not only the sexual abuser but also the institution that allowed the abuse to occur. If you have been abused due to the fault of an institution you put trust into, generous damages are owed. Seigel Law in Ridgewood provides determined representation for clients throughout northern New Jersey, especially in Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties.

What constitutes sexual abuse in New Jersey

New Jersey law defines sexual abuse as unwanted sexual contact. Criminal penalties are imposed based on the forcefulness of the contact, the age and mental capacity of the victim and the role the abuser has in the victim’s life. For instance, criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree is the lowest level of sexual abuse in New Jersey, occurring when “the actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury” or when “the victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.” On the other end of the spectrum, aggravated assault in the first degree is the most serious form of sexual abuse. It involves excessive use of force and or an abuser’s knowledge that the victim is mentally incapacitated.

The punishment for those convicted of these crimes in criminal court ranges from 18 months in prison to over 25 years in prison. The law recognizes the severity of sexual abuse and so too should institutions.

Why we target institutions

As a personal injury firm, we don’t pursue criminal convictions. Instead, we work to get sexual abuse victims the compensation they deserve from institutions that have betrayed their trust by failing to keep them safe. Institutions we take on include: 

Why you need a lawyer for your sexual abuse claim

Not all victims of abuse were directly assaulted, and not all of those who were directly assaulted are survivors. This is the sad reality of sexual abuse and the reason why it’s so important to make sure abuse never goes unpunished.

Claimable damages for sexual abuse include:

  • Medical bills— Many instances of abuse require a medical examination and possible treatment. If this is the case, you can be compensated for any out-of-pocket expenses you accrued due to the assault.
  • Pain and suffering — Abuse, even in its least aggressive forms, can be cripplingly traumatic. If you have required rehabilitation or mental health counselling or you have found life increasingly difficult due to the abuse, you may deserve compensation for your pain and suffering.
  • Wrongful death — Not every victim is a survivor. If you lost a loved one as a result of an act of sexual abuse, whether directly or due to mental or physical health problems resulting from the abuse, you are owed more than can ever be repaid. Wrongful death claims factor in the victim’s age, income and liabilities to determine a fair compensation for their loss to their loved ones.

Our law firm provides compassionate counsel, but we are also aggressive in pursuing the maximum compensation possible.

Extended statute of limitations for NJ sexual abuse claims

New Jersey’s old statute of limitations required victims of sexual abuse to file civil suits within two years of their 18th birthday or within two years of discovery of the abuse, whichever was later. This proved to be an unfair time frame, because many survivors repress memories of their abuse or fail to recognize the extent to which they have been harmed until years and even decades later. But in 2019, the statute of limitations was extended. Now victims of child sexual abuse can bring civil suits until the age of 55 or within seven years of coming to the realization that the abuse caused them harm, whichever is later. Moreover, the law allows victims who had been barred by the previous statute of limitations to file lawsuits up until November 30, 2021, even if these victims are over the age of 55.

Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Your Defense

Seigel Law in Ridgewood, New Jersey understands the suffering of sexual assault victims and fights vigorously to deliver the compensation they deserve. Our team will work to find the best option for your case, and won’t charge you a penny unless we recover money damages for you. Call us at 201-444-4000 or contact our office online today to discuss options and to schedule your free consultation.