Sexual abuse of a minor is a completely unacceptable violation. When someone in a position of trust like a teacher or a principal commits acts or abuse, the violation can be even worse. If your child was abused by a teacher or another staff or faculty member at their school, Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Maryland school sexual abuse attorneys might be able to help you seek justice.
Our attorneys represent survivors of school sexual abuse and other cases of sexual abuse of a minor, and we fight to hold institutions and individuals accountable for what they’ve done. For a free, confidential legal consultation on your case and more information about how to seek justice for the harm your child suffered, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291.
Suing for Sexual Abuse at School in Maryland
If your child’s teachers or another staff member at your child’s school took advantage of their position of trust and authority, our lawyers may be able to sue the individual perpetrators and the school for the harm your child suffered. A lawsuit for sexual abuse of a minor can typically be filed to help survivors and their families seek justice for what happened.
In a lawsuit for sexual abuse, the definition of what “qualifies” as sexual abuse is quite broad. Under Maryland’s definition of sexual abuse, any unwanted sexual touching should qualify as abuse regardless of whether there were injuries or not. This means that a victim of sexual touching has just as much right to sue as someone who suffered other harms.
In these kinds of cases, there is usually an individual perpetrator or multiple individuals who directly committed the abuse. However, if the school knew about the abuse and worked to cover it up or failed to properly investigate allegations of abuse and remove offending teachers from their staff, the school might share liability.
Ultimately, a lawsuit might be filed against the individual abuser and the school they worked for. This can often give survivors access to increased compensation because the school might be better able to afford high damages.
Statute of Limitations on Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against Schools in Maryland
Civil lawsuits and criminal charges both have a statute of limitations that blocks the ability to file a claim after a certain time has passed. For civil lawsuits based on child sexual abuse, the child victim typically has until they reach 18 to file a lawsuit. In many cases, a survivor of sexual abuse might repress thoughts or emotions, and it might take years for a victim to fully realize what happened to them and how wrong it was. To recognize this, the law does expand a victim’s rights, allowing lawsuits until 20 years after the victim turns 18 or 3 years after the offender is convicted of a crime for the abuse.
In some cases, it might be more difficult to sue an institution for sexual abuse after the victim turns 18. While the law generally gives victims 20 years after they turn 18 to file their lawsuit, this only applies to suing the direct actor who abused them. To sue an institution or another individual that shared indirect fault in allowing the abuse to occur, you must file the case within 7 years of turning 18. This limitation does not apply in cases involving gross negligence by the school or other institution, and a victim should still have 20 years after they turn 18 to file one of those cases.
In school sexual abuse lawsuits filed against a public school, there might be additional limitations. Lawsuits against government entities in Maryland are often limited in the amount the court can order in damages. Since public schools are operated by the government, this might limit the damages the school pays, but not the damages the individual pays. These limitations usually would not apply to private schools, Catholic schools, or other parochial schools not run by the government.
Damages for Child Victims of Sexual Abuse in Schools
The harm that a sexual abuse survivor endures is often difficult to measure. Some harms, like mental and emotional harm, might be impossible for someone else to grasp. A survivor of abuse may even have difficulty confronting the harm they faced and explaining it to others. Regardless, there are still many areas of damages that these victims can claim in court to seek compensation for the abuse they faced from a teacher or other school employee.
First, the victim can seek damages for any medical expenses. This can include the cost of medical bills to treat physical injuries as well as the cost of mental health treatment and counseling. Second, mental health issues like depression, PTSD, and other disorders often stem from trauma like this, and these issues might make it harder to work or find employment. If the survivor can prove that the abuse they faced caused future lost wages, they might be able to claim these lost wages as damages.
Lastly, survivors of sexual abuse by a schoolteacher or administrator can claim damages for the intangible harms they face. The mental and emotional suffering of this kind of event can last for a lifetime, and victims often deserve high levels of financial compensation for these harms. Talk to an attorney today for help understanding what your claim might be worth.
Call Our Attorneys for Sexual Abuse by Schoolteachers and Administrators
If you or a member of your family was sexually abused by a teacher or administrator at school, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras. Our Maryland school sexual abuse attorneys represent survivors of sexual abuse and their families and fight to get financial compensation from the individuals and institutions responsible for the abuse. Your case might have strict deadlines to file the claim, so call our attorneys today to schedule a free, confidential legal consultation. Our phone number is (410) 694-7291.