You will need to find a compassionate lawyer when handling sensitive issues like sexual abuse. It’s often not easy to find a sexual abuse attorney who can help you seek justice in these difficult circumstances. Sexual assault victims are more worried about being shamed, threatened, and not being believed. This prevents many sexual abuse victims from actively seeking legal help.
But you should speak up if you or your loved one has been a victim of sexual abuse. And start looking for the right sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible. A good lawyer can help you understand your legal options and bring the perpetrators to justice. Once you have narrowed down your list, talk to each lawyer separately.
Ask Your Sexual Abuse Lawyer These Questions Before Hiring
Here are a few questions to ask a sexual assault attorneys before hiring them.
1. How Much Experience Do You Have?
One of the first things you should talk about is the experience. A sexual abuse attorney should have been in the business for at least a few years, not months. Sexual abuse cases are incredibly complex.
Unlike most personal injury cases, sexual abuse cases require a deeper understanding of psychological damage and liability issues. In other words, avoid hiring a personal injury attorney with no experience handling sexual abuse cases. If you decide to hire a personal injury law firm, be sure they have an experienced, trained, and compassionate sexual abuse attorney on board.
This question will help you know if the lawyer is experienced enough to handle your case. Hiring an experienced lawyer often causes more harm than good. They can sometimes make mistakes, preventing you from getting the desired outcome. That’s why make sure to talk about their experience as soon as possible.
2. What Type of Cases Have You Handled Before?
While at it, you should also ask about the type of cases the sexual abuse attorney has handled before. Each sexual abuse case is unique. Besides, sexual abuse victims often exhibit intense emotional stress. So, a lawyer with diverse work experience will know how to put you or your loved one at ease.
Moreover, a diverse experience helps your lawyer better prepare for your case. If it goes to trial, their experience will play a pivotal role in getting the desired outcome. So, ask the lawyer what type of cases they handled in the past.
3. What Is Your Current Case Load?
While you need an experienced lawyer, they shouldn’t be too busy to handle your case. Usually, sexual abuse can take a few months or even years to get resolved. This means your sexual abuse lawyer should have enough time and resources to handle your case.
Many leading lawyers outsource the paperwork and case preparation to a team of paralegals or even other personal injury law firms. Also, if the attorney is too busy, they might settle your case for less than what it’s worth. Your sexual abuse lawyer needs to be thorough from day one. They should leave no stone unturned to help you get the best possible outcome.
4. How Many of Your Cases Go to Trial?
Asking this question will tell you if the sexual abuse attorney is willing to take your case to trial. Although most personal injury cases end up in a plea bargain, sexual abuse cases may not. A sexual abuse charge can end the accuser’s future, personal and professional. Plus, a person facing sexual abuse charges could also be facing lifelong incarceration.
The accused themselves are more likely to demand a trial considering the consequences. So, your sexual abuse attorney must have courtroom experience. Unfortunately, some lawyers may try to settle because it is the easy way out, even though you could get a better outcome if the case goes to trial. That’s why you would want an attorney willing to go to trial if that is the best course of action.
5. Who Will Handle My Casework?
Most attorneys will have a team of junior lawyers and paralegals to handle the casework, especially if you hire a large personal injury law firm. In some cases, a junior sexual abuse lawyer may even represent you in court. And if they make a mistake, it could affect the outcome of your case.
It’s better to know who is going to handle which part of your case. Transparency is a critical factor when hiring a sexual abuse attorney. Make sure to ask the lawyer who will handle your casework, who will represent you in court, and who will talk to you about the progress of your case.
6. How Do You Communicate with Your Clients?
Proactive communication is also an equally important consideration. Your sexual abuse attorney needs to communicate with you proactively. You need to know about the latest developments in your case. Ask the attorney how they will keep in touch with you.
- Will they communicate over the phone?
- Can you email or chat with them?
- Will they be free to talk to you during office hours?
- How often will they email/text/phone you in a week?
Get answers to all these questions before hiring a lawyer. Be sure your lawyer can communicate in an easy-to-understand and organized manner. It benefits everyone.
7. Are You Familiar with the Local Courts and Legal System?
You should always work with a sexual abuse attorney who knows the local courts, judges, law enforcement officers, and opposing lawyers. It becomes easier to fight for your rights when your lawyer is familiar with the local legal system.
Ask the potential sexual abuse lawyer if they know the local system. Have they worked with the judges before? How well do they know the opposing lawyer?
8. How Much Do You Charge?
Lastly, ask your attorney about the fees. You can ask the lawyer for a detailed breakdown of the overall legal costs in the meeting. Most attorneys will charge an hourly rate. But sometimes they may charge a flat fee.
Also, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means you may not need to pay anything upfront. However, your lawyer will recover a percentage of your compensation as their fees. This percentage may vary from 10% to 40%. Make sure to get everything confirmed before signing up a sexual abuse lawyer.
When it comes to sexual abuse cases, you need staunch legal representation. You must find a sexual abuse attorney who is skilled, experienced, and willing to take your case to trial if needed. Asking these eight questions will help you find such a lawyer quickly and efficiently.