According to the U.S Department of Urban Development, approximately a third of the families using family homeless shelters are there because of domestic violence. It has been estimated that 1 in 4 women will be the victims of violence by a partner at some time during their life. Approximately 4 million women experience a physical assault by their partner; there is an epidemic of domestic violence in the United States. With that said, victims of domestic abuse need to know that they have legal options.
The civil legal system provides victims with a number of options similar to a restraining order. They may not help in situations where violence is imminent, and a domestic abuse hotline needs to be contacted.
A civil lawsuit is a separate legal option. It is something that can be considered when a victim and their family members are safe. It can provide a victim with a sense of emotional comfort and security. A successful civil lawsuit can make an abuser compensate a victim for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress as well as provide punitive damages and more.
There are states that permit a victim to sue police officers or other public officials who fail to provide necessary protection from an abuser. Every state has its own set of laws to address this situation. Many of them remove the legal immunity that protects law enforcement or other public officials from being sued. This often happens with a failure to act when an abuser commits a felony assault; a victim experiences an injury, or the abuser causes the victim to believe bodily injury or death is imminent.
It is not easy on a victim’s mental health or emotions to sue their abuser. When an abuser is sued, they fight the victim using every legal procedure at their disposal. They will try to portray themselves as the actual victim. Some abusers have tried to get judges disqualified from a case if they don’t win. Many have threatened anyone who attempts to help the victim. This includes neighbors, lawyers, friends and others, which makes it difficult to find people to help.
If a victim believes they have grounds for filing a lawsuit against their abuser, they can speak with an attorney who specializes in dealing with such situations. It is important for a victim to do this as soon as they are ready. Many states have a statute of limitations, which means a victim will only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit after the incidents of abuse.
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