Frequently Asked Questions

What are sexual assault and battery?

These terms refer to any sexual contact that occurs without the consent of the victim. They may also refer to a situation in which a person is incapable of giving valid consent, such as in the case of sexual contact with a minor or with someone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to give consent under the law.

Due to an imbalance of power and professional ethics, sexual misconduct also may occur in other situations such as between a doctor and patient, clergyman and parishioner, massage therapist and client, teacher and student, or prison guard and inmate. In these situations, all sexual contact is prohibited regardless of the circumstances.

Common examples of sexual misconduct include:

  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Groping or uninvited touching of sexual organs
  • Sexual intercourse with someone who cannot give consent
  • Any sexual contact with a child
  • Sexting, pornography or exhibitionism with a minor

How much do I pay for your legal services?

There are no out-of-pocket costs to our clients when Horowitz Law agrees to take your case. Our cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means our law firm only earns a fee if we make a financial recovery for you. If there is no financial recovery, we earn no fee.

Can I file a lawsuit without using my real name?

Yes, the law recognizes that victims of certain crimes, including sex crimes, may file a lawsuit using a pseudonym (such as Jane Doe or John Doe) to protect the victim’s identity and keep it confidential and out of the public record if public disclosure would result in psychological harm or retaliation.

If I have been the victim of sexual assault, do I have to choose between contacting police and filing a lawsuit?

No. All sex crimes should be reported to law enforcement. The criminal and civil justice systems operate separately and accomplish different goals. Many of our civil cases also involve criminal proceedings. The criminal justice system seeks to hold perpetrators of sex crimes accountable by sanctioning those who violate the law with criminal penalties. Those cases are brought by the state or federal government and the crime victims are witnesses but are not parties to the action. On the other hand, the civil justice system typically involves a privately filed lawsuit in which the victim gets to participate and make an important decision regarding the outcome of the case. In a civil case, we seek accountability and retribution from not only the perpetrators but also those whose neglect enabled or failed to deter the misconduct. This may include bringing a lawsuit against an employer, supervisor, business entity or organization that negligently hired, retained or failed to supervise the perpetrator. Although in civil lawsuit people sometimes focus solely on monetary gain, Horowitz Law has found that real value in civil lawsuits is in the process of standing up for one’s self, exposing perpetrators and enablers, and holding them accountable. Our clients find that this process is in itself a cathartic and validating experience.

How can I seek justice after a sexual assault or molestation?

When a sexual assault occurs, the state may file criminal charges against the perpetrator. If a jury finds him/her guilty, your attacker may be spending some time behind bars.

However, if you so choose, a predator can face more than criminal charges. Victims of sexual assaults (and/or their loved ones if the victim is a child) may also file a civil suit against their attacker to recover damages.

Who can sue for damages in a sexual assault or molestation case?

Child abuse victims and their guardians – Both children and their caregivers can file separate suits against the abuser for the physical and emotional injuries the child suffered as a result of the abuse.

The suit may include multiple causes of action including negligence, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Adult sexual assault Victims – Victims of sexual assault can file suit against their attackers for the physical and emotional harm they suffered.

Who can I sue following a sexual assault or child molestation?

The first person in your suit will likely be the perpetrator, but you might be able to name other parties as well. For example, you might name an employer or property owner if negligent security, failure to maintain property, negligent hiring, or negligent supervision allowed the attack or abuse to occur.

Some of these potential defendants include:

  • Schools or day cares
  • Businesses that failed to protect clients
  • Cruise ships or yacht/boat owner
  • Religious institutions or church
  • The abuser’s employer
  • Youth-serving organizations (YMCA, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, etc.)

How long does it typically take to resolve a sexual abuse lawsuit?

It depends on the complexity of the case. In many instances, the lawsuit will take months. But it could also take years to be resolved, depending on how evidence is gathered and what steps the other party takes to offer a defense. The key thing to remember is that this is often a relatively long process, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced legal team every step of the way.

What evidence is needed to file a sexual abuse lawsuit?

The first piece of evidence you have is your testimony of what took place. You can significantly increase your chances of winning the case by bringing more evidence. Common sources of evidence in sexual abuse cases include medical records, police reports, witness testimonies, video evidence, social media evidence and testimony from other witnesses. If there are other victims, their experiences can also be a form of evidence as they establish a pattern of behavior.

Will I have to testify in court if I file a sexual abuse lawsuit?

Whether or not you’ll have to testify in court if you file a sexual abuse lawsuit depends on various factors. If you file a civil sex abuse lawsuit, you may not have to testify in court. However, if the accused individual ends up facing criminal charges, you may be required to testify during the trial.

When you have our expert legal team by your side, you will be guided through the legal procedures involved and advised on whether your testimony will be necessary for your case. Our team will work diligently to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf, ensuring that you receive the support and representation you deserve throughout the legal process.

Is it possible to file a lawsuit anonymously in cases of sexual abuse?

Victims of sexual abuse may understandably feel vulnerable and fear retaliation or further harm if they come forward publicly. The good news is that you can file a sexual abuse lawsuit anonymously. Under the guidance of your attorney, you can opt to file for a “Motion to Proceed Anonymously,” and more often than not, judges will grant the motion.

What if I was sexually abused by a member of the clergy?

Getting abused sexually by a member of the clergy can be devastating. However, you can pursue justice by taking legal action against the perpetrator and, potentially, the church that allowed the abuse to happen. It’s crucial to seek support from a legal team experienced in handling cases of clergy abuse, such as our lawyers at Horowitz Law.

Can I still pursue legal action for sexual abuse if the perpetrator was never criminally charged?

Yes, you can still start a civil suit without a criminal charge. The way evidence is handled is much different. In some cases, evidence may not reach the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in a criminal case, but the preponderance of evidence would be plenty to win a civil case.

Proving A Sexual Assault Or Child Molestation Case

Proving sexual assault can be challenging, but we will handle all aspects of your case from the get-go. If successful, you can recover a large amount of damages due to the horrific nature of these cases. In addition to monetary damages, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are holding your attacker or your child’s attacker accountable for his/her actions. We will investigate the facts of your case and find the available evidence to help you prove your case.

To prove your case, we may need to show:

  • Sexual contact or behavior
  • Knowing behavior or intent on the part of the defendant
  • Victim’s lack of consent or inability to give consent

In criminal court, you need to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard of proof. Proving guilt in civil court is often much easier. To hold a defendant liable in civil court, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was guilty by a preponderance of the evidence. Essentially, this means that we must show that it is more likely than not that the perpetrator committed the crime.

To prove your case, we often present medical records, expert testimony, and witnesses. If necessary, we will enlist the help of experts to show the significant impact of the assault on your life. Many victims of sexual assault suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological trauma.

Your physician can testify to your physical injuries while a mental health professional can evaluate your ability to function in daily life. We may also call friends and family to testify to compare your behavior before and after the attack.

Collateral Estoppel

If a criminal court convicted the defendant, it may be easier to prove your case in a civil court. The legal rule of collateral estoppel may allow you to bring the criminal evidence used to convict the defendant in criminal court into civil court.

Recovering Damages Related To A Sexual Assault Or Child Molestation Case

If a civil court finds a perpetrator liable in civil court, the sexual assault victim may be entitled to compensatory damages.

If you or your child has been sexually assaulted, you do not have to suffer alone. Horowitz Law pursues justice for sexual assault victims and their families. We will do everything we can to make sure you recover the compensation you deserve. For more information, please call 954-641-2100 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation today.


How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a sexual abuse case?

There are no out-of-pocket costs to our clients when Horowitz Law agrees to take your case. Our cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means our law firm only earns a fee if we make a financial recovery for you. If there is no financial recovery, we earn no fee. We do not require a retainer or send an invoice for our time. Financial concerns should not be an obstacle to seeking justice for sexual abuse. Instead, our fees are contingent on the outcome of your case. If we obtain a settlement judgment or verdict in court, our attorney fee is calculated as a percentage of the compensation obtained. This approach ensures that our interests are aligned with yours, emphasizing our commitment to advocating for your rights without adding financial stress.

What information do I need to provide during the intake process?

The intake process is designed to be as straightforward and supportive as possible. We will ask you to share information about your experiences, providing as much detail as you feel comfortable disclosing. This may include dates, locations, and the individuals involved. We understand that discussing such matters can be challenging, and we employ a trauma-informed approach to the intake process while always maintaining sensitivity and compassion. Your comfort is our priority. Our experienced legal team will guide you through each step, ensuring that you have the support you need during this process. The information you provide helps us assess the strength of your case and determine the appropriate legal steps moving forward. Rest assured, all information shared during the intake process is treated with the utmost confidentiality and discretion.

What is the statute of limitations for a sexual abuse case?

A statute of limitation is a law that sets a deadline for the bringing of certain kinds of legal action. If you do not pursue your claim before this deadline, it may be time-barred. There are statutes of limitations that pertain to the bringing of both criminal actions (prosecutions) and civil actions (lawsuits for monetary damages.) Each state has its own set of criminal and civil statutes of limitations and there are also Federal statutes of limitation that apply to a particular case. The statute of limitations relating to any individual situation will depend upon the state where the action would be brought and the specific circumstances of the offense. As such, it is essential to discuss your case with a legal professional who is well-versed in the practice of sexual abuse law to determine the statute of limitations for your case.

If I used to date the person who assaulted me, does this mean it is not rape?

No. Rape or sexual assault occurs when there is a lack of legal consent between the participants to a sex act. Rape or sexual assault can occur in the context of a pre-existing relationship. This is sometimes referred to as “date rape” or “acquaintance rape.” These types of offenses can even occur within a marriage. If one participant has not given consent to the sex act, or is not legally competent to give consent to it, it can be considered a rape or a sexual assault, depending upon the extent of the sex act. An example of someone who is not competent to give consent to sexual activity is a minor, as defined by state law in the jurisdiction where the sex act occurred.

Can therapy help a child who has been sexually abused recover?

Yes. Although the lives of children who have been sexually abused may be forever changed, many child victims are able to achieve a great deal of healing as a result of professional care. A licensed mental health professional can help victims of childhood sexual abuse begin to heal from their trauma and go on to live healthy and productive lives. Our team at Horowitz Law has helped many children and their families access the resources they need to begin this healing process.

How much money can I expect to recover if I file a sexual abuse lawsuit?

As all survivors of sexual abuse know, there is no amount of money that can fix what happened in the past. That said, we are fully committed to getting our clients the maximum compensation they so deserve. Every case is different, and the monetary recovery varies widely based on the circumstances. For example, the age of the victim at the time of the abuse, the evidence in the case, and the financial assets of the defendant, and even the existence of an insurance policy are all variables that can affect how much the case could settle for or how much could potentially be awarded by a jury. While it is impossible to know for certain what the outcome will be, our experienced attorneys can advise you on what you can expect based on the details of your case.

What is a deposition? What can I expect at my deposition?

A deposition is a sworn statement provided by a witness which can be used in lawsuit. The defendant in a sexual abuse lawsuit has the right to take a deposition of the plaintiff to gather evidence in the case. At your deposition, the attorney representing the defendant will ask you questions about your background, your abuse, and how the abuse has affected your life, which you are required to answer under oath. A court reporter, also known as a stenographer, will be present to record the deposition and prepare a transcript of what is said there. We understand that the process can be stressful and challenging. Rest assured, we will be with you every step of the way and will make sure you are as comfortable and prepared as possible.

Will my name be publicly disclosed if I pursue a civil case? Can I bring the case using a pseudonym?

Yes, the law recognizes that victims of certain crimes, including sex crimes, may file a lawsuit using a pseudonym (such as Jane Doe or John Doe) to protect the victim’s identity and keep it confidential and out of the public record if public disclosure would result in psychological harm or retaliation. The identifying information of sexual assault victims is typically protected. In a civil case, victims are generally permitted to proceed under a pseudonym such as “Jane/John Doe” or with using their initials to protect their privacy.

Who can be held accountable for the sexual abuse I suffered?

There may be multiple parties who may be held responsible for sexual abuse such as individual perpetrators, institutions, entities where the abuse took place, and others who had knowledge of or aided in the abuse. Our team can help determine all the parties who should be held legally accountable.

Should I report my abuse/assault to law enforcement?

If you are comfortable reporting your abuse/assault to law enforcement, you should do so as soon as possible to begin the process of holding your perpetrator accountable through the criminal justice system. There may be additional avenues available to you as well, such as government licensing authorities like the Department of Health or the Department of Education. We understand that it can sometimes feel daunting to make these reports, or even to know where to begin with reporting. Our attorneys can help you navigate the process if you have questions. While we are not prosecutors or government investigators, we frequently interact and cooperate with those who are. This gives us a working knowledge of the various systems and we can give you guidance on how to report your abuse to law enforcement and state authorities. Holding those responsible for your abuse accountable is not just a matter of filing a civil lawsuit; it’s also about determining whether any criminal or administrative penalties might exist too. We can help get that process started.

Do you take cases outside of Florida?

Yes, our attorneys handle matters throughout the United States. All of our attorneys are licensed in Florida, and some are licensed in additional states. Additionally, most states allow our attorneys to ask for a temporary, limited admission to practice in other states so that we can be lead counsel on your case. This is called a “pro hac vice admission.” Our attorneys have been granted pro hac vice admission to work on cases over twenty states. No matter where your abuse occurred, we may be able to help.

Who will be handling my case? I do not want to talk to multiple people and share my story.

Horowitz Law understands your concern about speaking with multiple people. Initially, you will be speaking with a paralegal specialist or attorney specifically trained in sexual abuse cases. The paralegal specialist and attorney will be assisting you throughout your case and you can rely on them to provide consistent support and guidance from beginning to end.

How long does it take to get my sexual abuse case resolved? Will I have to go to court?

There is no clear-cut timeline for these types of cases. There are many factors that can impact how long it takes to resolve your case. Our goal is obtaining a settlement that compensates you for your injuries sustained as a result of the abuse. We can sometimes achieve this result through a settlement before filing a lawsuit . This is called pre-suit litigation which often entails going to mediation before a neutral third party. If we cannot settle your matter through mediation and negotiations, we pursue litigation.

But the choice whether to move forward with mediation or litigation is yours. We aim to resolve your matter swiftly and efficiently, allowing you to move forward with your life.