Suing for Past Sexual Abuse in Georgia
Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual conduct that can occur at any point an individual’s life. Here’s what to know about how to sue for past sexual abuse in Georgia.
In order to sue for past sexual abuse in Georgia, an individual must hire an attorney and file a complaint within the relevant statute of limitations. Their attorney will serve the defendant, both sides will prepare for trial, and then appear in court if they choose not to settle.
Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for past sexual abuse is 4 years. A victim must begin prosecutions no later than 4 years after the incident occured. If the victim was under the age of 18, the prosecution must begin within 7 years after the incident.
Who can Sue for Past Sexual Abuse in Georgia?
Any victim of past sexual abuse, including both children and their legal guardians at the time of the abuse, are eligible to sue for past sexual abuse in Georgia.
Steps to Sue for Past Sexual Abuse in Georgia
Step 1: Hire an Attorney
The first step in the process of suing for past sexual abuse is to hire an attorney. During your consultation, they will help you decide whether or not you have a case. If you do have a case, the attorney will help you move forward with your case. They will also present you with a fee for their services moving forward.
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Step 2: File a Complaint
With the help of an attorney, the person filing the case creates a complaint document detailing the harm done to them. The complaint will list the details of the past sexual abuse and the harm the plaintiff suffered as a result of the abuse.
Step 3: Serve the Defendant
After filing the complaint, the attorney will have a month to find the defendant and serve them with papers that will include their court date.
Step 4: The Defendant Hires an Attorney
After the plaintiff’s attorney serves the defendant with the complaint, the defendant will have a month to hire their own attorney.
Step 5: Discovery or the “Pre-Trial” Period
Leading up to the trial, both sides will gather evidence and witnesses to make their case in a process called discovery. Both sides will also appear in court and inform the judge how they intend to proceed with the case. Rather than going to court, both sides may agree to proceed through arbitration or mediation.
Step 6: Trial
During the trial, the judge will decide which side is at fault. If the court deems the defendant guilty, the judge will decide how the defendant will award damages to the plaintiff.
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Step 7: Appeal
After the trial, either party may appeal the court’s decision. Once the judge makes a decree, the court’s ruling stands and the losing party is required to pay the court-appointed damages.
FAQs about How to Sue for Past Sexual Abuse in Georgia
What are other resources for past sexual abuse survivors?
RAINN, short for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, is the largest anti-sexual violence organization, offering many resources for victims of sexual abuse looking for support or information. They have a 24 hour hotline at 1-800-656-4673 if you or someone you know would like to talk to someone.
What constitutes sexual abuse?
Types of sexual abuse include but are not limited to rape, sexual abuse, groping, and indecent exposure. Victims of sexual abuse may be entitled to compensatory and punitive damages if they win their case.
Can someone be sued for defamation if they lose a suit for a sex crime?
While an individual can be sued for defamation if the judge rules in the defendant’s favor, it is not very common.