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Seattle Juvenile Sex Abuse Lawyer FAQs

Coming forward and seeking justice for the abuse you’ve experienced is a big decision that comes with lots of questions. The Washington sex abuse attorneys at Bergman Oslund Udo have answers to the frequently asked Sexual Abuse Lawsuit questions directly from our attorneys helping survivors here in Washington. Call us today at (206) 957-9510 for a free, confidential case review.

Do I Have a Case?

Whether you have a case and a case that you want to pursue is a question that requires analysis from an experienced attorney. Coming forward after experiencing childhood sexual abuse is very difficult, and it takes a lot of courage to tell your story and seek justice. By contacting us you have made the first big step towards justice. We must investigate your claim to determine whether we can file a civil lawsuit on your behalf. We promise when you work with us that we will do everything in our power to help you seek justice.

Will I Be a Member of a Class Action?

No, but your claim may be brought in a group with other people who endured similar abuse or where the abuse occurred at the same location. Class actions are lawsuits where the harms endured by the individuals bringing the lawsuit are identical or so small as to make it too expensive for each person to bring their own case. We believe that the harms that our clients have suffered are both personal and very significant.

Who Can I Sue for the Abuse That I Experienced?

It depends. In addition to the perpetrators themselves, institutions that failed to keep you safe can also be held liable. Who can be sued will depend on the facts that our investigation uncovers and how the various laws and court cases impact those facts. In most cases, your lawyers will look to discover if there are any third parties that were “negligent” and failed to protect you from your abuser. Negligence is a legal standard. Whether a third party was negligent requires your attorney’s legal expertise and it may be a surprise to you who or what bears legal responsibility for the abuse.

I Was Abused a Long Time Ago. Can I Still Sue?

Most likely, yes. In Washington State, a special statute of limitations allows many survivors of childhood abuse to file lawsuits many years after the abuse ended, even as adults. The statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limitation on when you can file a lawsuit. However, the law recognizes that survivors of childhood abuse may not realize or appreciate how the abuse harmed them until much later in life.

Should I File a Lawsuit for the Abuse I Experienced?

The decision to file a civil abuse lawsuit is very personal, and you should consider several factors. A lawsuit will allow you to expose the wrongs of your perpetrator and others who failed to protect you. It could also potentially result in financial compensation for your pain. However, a lawsuit takes time and there are no guarantees as to when or if your case will resolve. Additionally, you will need to provide information about the trauma you experienced as well as other sensitive information about your personal life. Our team is trained to help survivors through the legal process with empathy and care to minimize the negative parts of litigation as much as possible.

How Long Does a Sex Abuse Lawsuit Take?

Once the legal process begins, there is no clear-cut timeline. The facts, issues, injuries, and the parties involved will determine how long it will take to finish your lawsuit. The timeline may also be affected by the availability and schedules of the court. Your case will begin with a pre-litigation investigation that must be completed before we can file any lawsuit. This investigation could take between three months and two years depending on the complexity of your case. After filing, cases are usually set for trial within a year or 18 months. However, most cases resolve before trial through settlement, in which case the timeline can be much shorter.

Can My Name Be Disclosed to the Public?

It depends. You can choose to disclose your name to the public as part of a lawsuit. However, if you do not want to publicly reveal your name, your case can be filed under your initials. That said, in Washington State, our court system is open to the public. This means anything filed or said in the court system is accessible to the public. Though your initials can be used in place of your full name with all court filings, the documents themselves will still be available to the public. And, if your case proceeds to a jury trial, your full name will be used with the judge and jury.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Washington Sex Abuse Lawyer?

Our work is done on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay us on an hourly basis or pay a retainer. Instead, we advance all costs of the litigation and if we are able to resolve your case, we receive a percentage of the amount you are paid and you reimburse us for all advanced costs.

Will I Be Able To Keep All Of My Government Benefits If I Receive Money For My Sexual Abuse Claim?

Usually. Disruption to any benefits depends on what kind of benefit you are receiving. If you rely on Medicaid and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a cash settlement might disrupt your eligibility. However, our legal team can work with you to create a comprehensive settlement plan that can preserve your eligibility.

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520 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101

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