Illinois Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Fighting for Sex Abuse Survivors Across Illinois
If you or someone you love were sexually abused in Illinois, you may have grounds to pursue a civil lawsuit against your abuser and/or the entity that failed to prevent the abuse.
In Illinois, state law protects the rights of sexual abuse survivors by providing the opportunity for them to seek justice and financial compensation in the civil court system. At Levy Konigsberg, our Illinois sexual abuse team has extensive experience litigating claims against individuals and entities across the country and is available to discuss how we can fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
Our Illinois sexual abuse attorneys have earned national recognition fighting for survivors in claims against some of the country’s most powerful institutions. To discuss your case and how we can help, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online. Consultations are FREE and confidential.
Illinois Civil Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse
In Illinois, individuals who have been sexually abused may have the right to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. Regardless of whether criminal charges were brought for the abuse, victims can bring a civil suit. Individuals have the option to initiate legal action, even if they refrained from reporting or disclosing the abuse at the time it occurred. To file a civil lawsuit, sexual abuse victims will need to willingly testify about the abuse under oath.
Sex Abuse Suits Against Illinois’ Catholic Dioceses
Legal Update: Following the release of an Illinois Attorney General report in May 2023 – which found that nearly 2,000 children were abused by 451 priests and Church members across the state since 1950 – Levy Konigsberg now represents a growing number of survivors who were sexually abused as minors by members of the Illinois Catholic Clergy.
The AG’s report revealed that Illinois’ Catholic Dioceses vastly underreported clergy child sexual abuse within their parishes for decades. It also showed how Church leadership routinely failed to protect children and hold abusers accountable, often by moving known or suspected abusers to different parishes, mishandling investigations, or turning a blind eye to complaints.
Given the findings illuminated in the report, numerous survivors across the state are stepping forward to pursue sexual abuse lawsuits against the Dioceses that failed to protect them. You may have a claim if:
- You were abused by a priest, brother, volunteer, or other member of the Catholic Church.
- The abuse took place in any of the six Illinois’ Roman Catholic Dioceses – the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Dioceses of Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield.
- The abuse occurred at any time in the past.
We Represent Survivors in All Types of Sex Abuse Claims
At Levy Konigsberg, we have the experience and resources to help survivors in sexual abuse lawsuits involving all types of institutions and circumstances, including:
- Sexual Abuse in Colleges and Universities
- Sexual Abuse of Children in Religious Organizations
- Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church
- Sexual Abuse in Residential Care Group Homes and Foster Care Homes
- Sexual Abuse involving Rideshare Services (Lyft & Uber)
- Sexual Abuse in Hotels and The Hospitality Industry
- Sexual Abuse by Law Enforcement
- Sexual Abuse in Spas and Massage Parlors
- Sexual Abuse in the Entertainment Industry
- Sexual Abuse in Summer / Day Camps and Day Care / Preschools
Who is Liable for Damages in a Sex Abuse Lawsuit?
In cases of sexual abuse, liability for damages can extend to various parties depending on the circumstances. Here are some potential parties that might be held liable for damages:
Individual Abuser: The primary individual responsible for the abuse can be held liable for the harm caused. This could include both criminal and civil liability.
Institutions and Organizations: Schools, churches, youth organizations, sports clubs, or any institution where the abuse occurred might be held liable if they failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the abuse, ignored reports, or didn't respond adequately to protect the victims.
Supervisors and Administrators: If supervisors, administrators, or leaders within an institution were aware of the abuse or had reason to suspect it and failed to take proper action, they could also be held liable for their negligence.
Negligent Hiring and Supervision: If an institution hired or retained an employee or volunteer with a known history of abusive behavior, they could be held liable for negligent hiring. Similarly, if they failed to properly supervise these individuals, they might be liable for negligent supervision.
Property Owners: If the abuse occurred on a property owned or controlled by someone, they might be held liable if they were aware of the abuse or should have been aware and failed to address it.
Government Agencies: In cases where government agencies were involved in overseeing the institutions where the abuse took place, they could be held liable if their oversight was negligent.
Other Individuals: If other individuals had knowledge of the abuse and didn't report it or took actions that contributed to it continuing, they might also be held liable in certain circumstances.
Medical Professionals: If medical professionals failed to properly document or report signs of abuse or provided inadequate medical care to victims, they might be held liable for their negligence.
Proving liability for damages requires careful gathering and presentation of evidence to establish that the responsible parties failed in their duty of care, were negligent, or contributed to the harm in some way. The specifics of each case will vary, so it's important to consult with an attorney who specializes in Illinois sexual abuse cases to determine who might be liable for damages in your particular situation.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Civil Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Illinois?
Sexual abuse lawsuits, like other claims brought by plaintiffs who seek damages for injuries, are subject to a legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. When the statute of limitations expires, victims will not be able to file a claim or recover compensation.
Determining the statute of limitations in your claim can be challenging, as there are many factors to consider. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse claims are generally as follows:
- Claims brought by survivors of childhood sexual abuse (abuse that occurred when the victim was under 18 years of age) may be commenced at any time for victims who were born on or after June 24, 1983.
- Claims brought by survivors who were sexually abused as adults are subject to the Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury cases. This statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of injury – however, there may be exceptions.
The best way to evaluate the statute of limitations in your case is to have it personally reviewed by qualified legal counsel. At Levy Konigsberg, our Illinois sexual abuse attorneys have extensive experience litigating civil sexual abuse claims and can help you determine whether you have grounds to pursue legal action.
Can I Still File a Sex Abuse Claim if My Abuser Was Never Charged with a Crime?
Indeed, pursuing a civil sexual abuse lawsuit is an entirely distinct process from criminal proceedings and operates independently. Its primary objective is to hold the defendant accountable for the harm caused and seek compensation for the survivor, without directly addressing the criminal guilt of the offender. Importantly, these civil cases can be directed not only against individual perpetrators but also against organizations or institutions that may have failed in their duty to prevent the abuse and safeguard victims. This means that you still have a valid basis for a civil sex abuse lawsuit even under several circumstances:
No Criminal Investigation or Charges: If your abuser was never subject to a criminal investigation or charged with a crime, you can still pursue a civil lawsuit to seek justice and compensation for the harm you endured.
Not Guilty Verdict: Even if a criminal case resulted in a "Not Guilty" verdict, it does not preclude you from pursuing civil action. The standards of proof in civil cases differ from those in criminal cases, and you may still have a strong case to hold the responsible party accountable in civil court.
Deceased Abuser: In cases where your abuser has passed away, it is still possible to file a civil sex abuse lawsuit against their estate or the institution that may have harbored them, as long as the statute of limitations allows. The purpose remains to seek justice and compensation for the suffering you endured.
In all these scenarios, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney experienced in sexual abuse cases can be invaluable. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances, assess the strength of your case, and help you navigate the legal process to achieve justice and closure.
Levy Konigsberg: Proven Advocacy in Sex Abuse Litigation
Levy Konigsberg is a U.S. News “Best Law Firms” ranked trial practice that has earned national recognition for our work litigating complex claims against powerful defendants. Our team has won landmark rulings, record settlements and verdicts, and decisions that have helped change laws and lives.
In addition to our work fighting for injured victims and families, our firm has also cultivated a reputation of success in high-stakes sexual abuse litigation. Some of our work includes:
- Millions of dollars in compensation recovered for survivors across the country, including those in states where survivor-centric laws created temporary filing windows.
- Award-winning recognition from peers and the media, including a recent NY Daily News cover story profiling our ongoing work representing women sexually abused in NY prisons.
- High-profile sexual abuse filings and litigation against powerful institutions, including the Catholic Church, state and municipal corrections departments, and universities and hospital systems that failed to protect survivors.
You can learn more about our latest sexual abuse work on our blog.
Call For a FREE Consultation
Levy Konigsberg represents survivors of adult and child sexual abuse throughout Illinois. If you have questions about a potential claim and how we can help, we encourage you to contact us. Our firm offers FREE and confidential consultations and works on contingency, which means there is no up-front cost to hire our team and no fee unless we win.
To speak with an Illinois sexual abuse lawyer, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online.
Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.
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