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Guide to Filing a Sexual Abuse Claim in Los Angeles

Sexual abuse is a terrible crime that can have long-lasting effects on a survivor. For many, filing a sexual abuse lawsuit is a step toward regaining something that was lost when they were assaulted – control over their lives.

Sexual abuse is a terrible crime that can have long-lasting effects on a survivor. For many, filing a sexual abuse lawsuit is a step toward regaining something that was lost when they were assaulted – control over their lives. Holding an abuser accountable in Los Angeles can provide justice, closure and institutional changes that could potentially protect others in the future. If you’re wondering how to file a sexual abuse claim in Los Angeles, California, use this guide for what steps to take.

Get Medical Care in the First 72 Hours

Many sexual abuse survivors who are looking to file lawsuits suffered the crime against them long ago, such as when they were children. If the abuse or assault occurred recently, however, one of the first steps you should take is getting medical care. Go to a health care center near you that offers sexual assault forensic exams (“rape kits”) within at least 72 hours so that any DNA from your abuser can be collected. This can provide evidence during your sexual abuse claim.

Report the Sexual Abuse

If you have not already done so, tell others about your sexual abuse or assault. This can make the emotional burden easier to bear as a sexual assault survivor by giving you a support system. It can also document sexual abuse for legal purposes. Start by telling someone that you know and trust, such as a friend or family member. They can give you the support and encouragement to tell your story on a larger scale. Then, go to the authorities. 

If you were sexually abused at a business or institution in LA – such as a school, massage spa, church, etc. – tell an authority or manager what happened. Document who you speak to and how the institution responds to your report. Next, tell the police. Call the Los Angeles Police Department’s non-emergency number at (877) 275-5273 to report the individual who abused you and press charges, if applicable. If it is an emergency, dial 911.

Reporting Sexual Assault or Harassment in the Workplace in LA

If you were sexually harassed or assaulted at work, reporting the incident will look slightly different. You should file a report with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to request an official investigation into the offender and your work environment. You can also file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing if the tort committed against you involved workplace discrimination.

Gather Information and Evidence

The more evidence that you can collect to document your sexual abuse, the stronger your claim will be. While a sexual abuse lawyer will do a lot of this for you, you can also do some yourself to save money on legal fees. Documenting a case of sexual abuse may involve:

  • Writing down a complete list of every incident that you can remember, along with the dates and times.
  • Talking to anyone you told about the sexual abuse to see if they’d be willing to give statements.
  • Obtaining copies of any police report or incident report that was filed.
  • Getting copies of any medical records related to the sexual abuse or assault.
  • Collecting any relevant text messages, emails, photographs or videos.

Keep all of the facts and information that you gather about your sexual abuse case organized in a folder. Then, bring this folder to a sexual abuse attorney in Los Angeles for a confidential consultation about a potential lawsuit.

Contact a Sexual Abuse Lawyer in Los Angeles

A California sexual abuse attorney can give you the legal representation that you need to move forward with a claim in Los Angeles. Your lawyer can take over your case at any stage, whether or not you have done any of the legwork on your own already. You can trust your attorney to take care of many legal tasks on your behalf, including:

  • Investigating your case and determining the defendant(s).
  • Identifying any institutions that you may be able to hold liable for your sexual assault.
  • Collecting clear and convincing evidence against the defendant(s).
  • Filling out and filing the claims forms required to initiate a sexual abuse lawsuit.
  • Submitting your claim to the correct courthouse in LA County before the deadline.
  • Standing in for you during a lawsuit if you do not wish to see your abuser in person.
  • Demanding fair and full financial compensation for the crimes committed against you.

Your sexual abuse attorney can keep your identity anonymous and private throughout your case, if desired. Your lawyer will be your advocate and confidant – a trusted source of information and counsel during this difficult time in your life. Hiring a lawyer also improves your odds of winning a sexual abuse case in Los Angeles.

File Your Claim by California’s Deadline (Statute of Limitations)

It is important to know your deadline to bring a sexual abuse claim in California – otherwise known as the statute of limitations. Under the latest legislation, California’s statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases gives plaintiffs until age 40 to file their claims. If they were late discovering child sexual abuse due to repressed memories, they have 5 years from the date of discovery instead. 

If you were an adult when you were sexually assaulted or abused, you will have 10 years to file your sexual abuse claim in California or 3 years from your date of discovery. California’s recently extended statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims takes into account how difficult it is for survivors to come forward. It is important not to miss your deadline, however, or you may lose the right to hold your abuser accountable forever.

Seek Justice and Look Toward the Future

Once your claim has been filed, the defendant will have the chance to respond. If your claim is accepted, you can enter into settlement negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. If your claim gets denied, your lawyer may have to take your sexual abuse lawsuit to trial in Los Angeles. Having an attorney by your side can make the legal process easier while you fight for justice.

At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we are highly experienced and reputable sexual abuse lawyers in Los Angeles. As your legal team, we will protect your rights and help you build the future that you deserve. To start your sexual abuse claim, schedule a free, confidential consultation with our attorneys.

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is regarded as America's leading law firm for sexual abuse cases. As a firm that exclusively handles sexual abuse cases, our California law firm offers experienced representation to obtain justice for sexual abuse survivors, harassment, and discrimination.

Learn more about Manly, Stewart & Finaldi.