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San Diego Child Abuse Attorneys

The physical, emotional, and mental abuse of a child is never acceptable. If your child has been a victim of abuse, you may feel a range of intense emotions, including anger, sadness, frustration, and helplessness. You may be wondering what you can do to protect your child and seek justice for the pain they endured. One step is to contact a San Diego child abuse lawyer. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation if you have any questions.

Signs of Child Abuse

There are many signs of child abuse, which can vary depending on the child’s age. Some common signs of abuse include:

  • Bruises or other injuries that are not consistent with the explanation
  • Changes in behavior, such as becoming withdrawn or aggressive
  • Fear of specific people or places
  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Sudden changes in weight

If you notice any of these signs in your child, it’s essential to take action immediately. The sooner you contact a child abuse lawyer, the sooner they can help get you the justice and protection your family needs.

Types of Child Abuse Cases

Each case of child abuse requires a unique approach. Some common types of issues that a San Diego child abuse lawyer may handle include:

  • Physical Abuse: Physical abuse occurs when someone intentionally inflicts physical harm on a child. This can include hitting, shaking, burning, or otherwise harming a child.
  • Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse occurs when an individual touches a child in a sexual manner or forces a child to engage in sexual activity. This can include fondling, rape, or exposing a child to pornography.
  • Neglect: Neglect occurs when a caretaker fails to provide for a child’s basic needs. This can include not providing enough food or clothing, not ensuring that the child has access to necessary medical care, or leaving the child unsupervised for long periods of time.
  • Psychological or Emotional Abuse: Psychological or emotional child abuse is a form of maltreatment that can have serious, long-lasting consequences. It is defined as any pattern of behavior that negatively affects a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This can include verbal abuse, threats, withholding love and attention, name-calling, belittling, or exposing a child to drug use or other criminal activity.

Types of Evidence Used in Child Abuse Cases

Particular types of evidence are used to prove abuse has occurred. This evidence is crucial in protecting the innocent and seeing that justice is served. The most common evidence used in these cases includes:

  1. Physical Evidence

This is perhaps the most apparent type of evidence regarding child abuse cases.  Bruises, cuts, or fractures can be a clear sign of abuse. However, not all physical injuries will be visible to the naked eye. In some cases, abused children may have internal injuries that can only be detected through x-rays or other medical exams.

  1. Medical Records

Medical records can also help prove child abuse has occurred. In some cases, doctors or other medical professionals may document injuries that they believe were caused by abuse. Additionally, medical records can also show injuries over time that may indicate repeated or long-term abuse.

  1. Behavioral Evidence

Changes in a child’s behavior can also indicate abuse. Abused children may become withdrawn, aggressive, or suffer from emotional outbursts. They may also start exhibiting new behaviors, such as wetting the bed or sucking their thumb. Additionally, abused children may act out the abuse they’re experiencing by bullying others or acting out sexually.

  1. Witness Accounts

Witness accounts can be incredibly helpful in child abuse cases, even if the witness is not directly involved in the matter. For example, if a neighbor saw an abusive parent striking his/her child. Similarly, if a teacher overheard an abusive parent yelling at his/her child, this could also be used to help prove the claim. In some cases, law enforcement officials can be witnesses if they saw the abuse firsthand or have audio or video recordings of the abuse.

Negligent Hiring in Child Abuse Cases

Unfortunately, child abuse by employees or volunteers at child-care organizations is all too common. In recent years, several high-profile cases of child sex abuse by employees or volunteers of organizations like the Boy Scouts, Catholic churches, and child care centers have been reported. These cases have one thing in common: the organization knew or should have known about the abuser’s history of sexual misconduct but failed to take appropriate action to protect the children in their care.

In some instances, this is an example of what’s called “negligent hiring.” An organization can be liable for negligent hiring when it fails to properly screen an employee or volunteer, and then that employee or volunteer goes on to abuse a child.

These organizations have a duty to protect the children in their care by taking appropriate measures to prevent hiring child abusers in the first place. San Diego child care abuse lawyers can assist you if your child was not properly protected.

Negligent Retention in Child Abuse Cases

Negligent retention occurs when an employer knows or should know that an employee has engaged in misconduct but fails to take appropriate action to prevent the employee from continuing to work with children. To prove negligent retention, plaintiffs must show that the employer had actual or constructive knowledge of the employee’s misconduct, that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the employee from continuing to work with children, and that this failure resulted in the plaintiff suffering injuries.

California Child Victims Act & The Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Cases

The California Child Victims Act (CCVA) makes it easier for child victims of sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits against their abusers. The law does this by extending the statute of limitations for filing these types of lawsuits. Under the CCVA, child victims have until age 40 (or five years from the date they discover or reasonably should have discovered that the sexual abuse caused them injury) to file a lawsuit. Before the passage of the CCVA, the deadline was age 26.

Being January 1, 2020, the CCVA also opened a three-year window, during which any victim of childhood sexual abuse can file a lawsuit regardless of when the abuse occurred. This “look-back” window applies to claims previously barred by the statute of limitations.

In addition to raising the statute of limitations and creating a look-back window, the CCVA requires that private and public institutions (like schools, churches, and youth organizations) provide notice to members of the public about allegations of sexual abuse by employees or volunteers who worked at those organizations. The CCVA also requires these institutions to preserve records relating to claims of sexual abuse.

In short, the California Child Victims Act gives victims more time to come forward and seek justice.

Potential Compensation For Child Sex Abuse Cases

Survivors of sexual abuse may be able to receive monetary compensation for both economic and non-economic losses through a personal injury lawsuit. Compensation (or “damages”) in a civil lawsuit is intended to make the survivor “whole” again after suffering harm. In rare cases, punitive damages can be awarded as well.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are financial losses that can be directly attributed to the abuse. Medical expenses are the most common type of economic damage and include current and future medical bills related to the sexual abuse, as well as counseling, therapy, and any other type of treatment recommended by a doctor.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate the victim for more subjective injuries and losses. The most common non-economic damages include pain, suffering, and loss of companionship.

Punitive Damages

Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate the victim for more subjective injuries and losses. The most common non-economic damages include pain, suffering, and loss of companionship.

Reasons You Should Hire a Child Abuse Lawyer

Attorney John Gomez

John Gomez, Child Abuse Lawyer

If you or your child has been the victim of abuse, you may feel scared and have questions about what to do next. One of the most important decisions you can make is hiring a lawyer specializing in child abuse cases. Here are four reasons why you should hire a child abuse lawyer:

1. They will believe you.

One of the main reasons victims of abuse don’t come forward is a fear of not being believed. When you hire a child abuse lawyer, you are hiring someone who knows the ins and outs of these complex cases and who will believe you from the start. Your lawyer will be by your side every step of the way, providing the support you need to get through this difficult time.

2. They will fight for you.

Child abuse lawyers are passionate about getting justice for their clients. They will fight tirelessly to ensure that those responsible for the abuse are held accountable. In some cases, this may mean filing a civil suit in addition to any criminal charges that have been or will be filed.

3. They understand the legal system.

The legal system can be confusing and intimidating, especially if you have never had to deal with it before. A child abuse lawyer will guide you through every step of the process. They will make sure that your rights are protected at all times and that you understand what is happening and what to expect.

4. They have resources.

Child abuse attorneys have resources, such as private investigators and expert witnesses. These resources can be vital in building a solid case against the abuser and getting justice for their client.

Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys For Help With Your Child Abuse Claim

If you are the victim of child abuse, contact a child abuse attorney as soon as possible. The consequences of not seeking legal help can be dire. Child abuse lawyers at our firm understand the sensitive nature of these cases and will work with you every step of the way to get the justice you deserve. Don’t suffer in silence—contact The Gomez Trial Attorneys today for a free consultation by calling 866-TRIAL LAW (866-874-2552) or by contacting us online.

Gomez Trial Attorneys
655 West Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619)-237-3490
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