Miami Sexual Abuse and Assault Lawyers


Miami sex abuse attorneys Bernstein & Maryanoff have the knowledge and experience necessary to get the maximum compensation for your injuries. If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault,  trust in more than 35 years of sex abuse case experience.

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Miami Sexual Abuse and Assault Lawyers

Attorneys for Sexual Abuse Victims

Sexual abuse is often done by a person who has a close relationship with or access to children, such as a priest, rabbi, teacher, or boy scout leader. If the abuse occurred in the course and scope of the abuser’s employment, the employer or organization can be responsible for what occurred. The organization may also be legally responsible if it failed to conduct a proper investigation of the person’s background to uncover prior sexual abuse the person has committed on other victims. Any organization with such knowledge should not allow access to your child or family member by such a person. If an organization is aware of an incident involving sexual abuse, they should take immediate steps to prevent that abuser from continuing to have access to other children or members of the public in the future. If they fail to do so, it is a breach of their duty and they can be held responsible. This might include a spouse who knows of the husband’s sexually abusive behavior.

The lawyers at Bernstein & Maryanoff have the financial resources and experience to help victims of sexual abuse and assault seek the maximum compensation for their injuries. From our principal office in Miami and numerous other offices across Florida, we represent clients throughout the state.

Sexual abuse can occur in many different settings and to people of all ages:

  • Sexual abuse can occur in business settings when an employee in a position of authority makes improper sexual advances to another employee.
  • Sexual abuse can occur in private homes. If a homeowner knows that a person living in their home has a history of sexual abuse, they have a duty to warn anyone who comes into their home.
  • Sexual abuse can arise in hospital settings,
  • when hospital staff abuse patients who are under medication or in a vulnerable condition.
  • Psychoanalysts and physicians can take advantage of the vulnerability of a patient and have sex with them.
  • Children who live away from home can be sexually abused by other children or employees of the school district, camp counselors or church members.
  • Elderly people who are confined to nursing homes can be subjected to elder sexual abuse.

Each case of sexual abuse or assault must be analyzed separately to determine who is responsible for what occurred to you, your friend, or family member. Our lawyers typically retain expert psychologists to provide credible opinions about the careless or negligent conditions that allowed the sexual abuse to occur.

In some situations, sexual abuse rises to the level of forcible rape. In these cases, evidence will be collected by the police and rape treatment center. In other situations, DNA evidence is not easily recovered. In these cases, the evidence will consist of the testimony of a psychologist, friend or another person who can document the emotional injury that occurred.

Actions Against Sexual Assault Cases

If a victim suffers damages arising out of a sexual assault, he or she may bring several different claims in a civil action against his or her assailant. In addition to claims of sexual assault, an action against the perpetrator may include battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel, slander, stalking, negligent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, or wrongful death claims. Although the action is brought in court, the victim may choose to negotiate a settlement out of court. Unlike some criminal charges, the decision to begin a civil suit is the victim’s choice.

Many assailants settle lawsuits against them for damages, but if no settlement is reached at this point, the formal lawsuit begins when the plaintiff’s lawyer files documents at the local courthouse and serves the complaint on the perpetrator. Each side then assesses the other’s position, and the attorneys will question both the victim and the assailant. The victim can have his or her lawyer present at the questioning.

It is easier to prevail in a civil case than in a criminal matter, because in a civil case, the plaintiff’s attorney need only convince the judge or jury that his or her version of the facts is more “likely than not” rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” As a result, many defendants settle out of court, rather than risking a large money judgment and a public trial. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can assist a victim in assessing whether he or she should accept a proposed settlement offer.

Third Party Actions

Under some circumstances, a victim may file an action against a third party liable for the sexual assault. Such actions are generally based on negligence, and the plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff, that the duty was breached, that the plaintiff suffered damages, and that the defendant’s breach caused the damages.


Under some circumstances, a victim may file an action against a third party liable for the sexual assault. Such actions are generally based on negligence, and the plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff, that the duty was breached, that the plaintiff suffered damages, and that the defendant’s breach caused the damages.


A lawsuit against the perpetrator or other responsible persons may be able to compensate for these expenses, as well as for personal, nonfinancial damages to the victim. Compensatory damages for economic losses, such as lost wages, impaired earning capacity, medical expenses, and miscellaneous expenses such as transportation and babysitting, can be significant. Non-economic damages might include physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, fright, denial of social enjoyments, or humiliation. A victim may also be compensated for disability, disfigurement, or aggravation of a pre-existing ailment or condition. In some cases, compensation may also be obtained for claims by the victim’s spouse for loss of consortium. An experienced attorney can help a sexual assault survivor decide how to seek compensation for these expenses and assist him or her in taking the required steps.


In many jurisdictions, a restitution order entered in a criminal case does not bar a damages recovery in a civil action arising out of the same incident. However, any compensatory damage award in a civil suit is generally reduced by the amount of restitution already received by the victim.

Means of Compensation

Many states have a victim’s compensation fund to compensate certain victims who have filed a police report for specified expenses incurred because of a sexual assault. These state funds typically give the victim a fairly short period within which he or she must apply for aid. Therefore, a sexual assault victim should not delay in investigating whether state fund opportunities are available. A victim may also be able to receive restitution as part of a civil protective order, and, of course may recover damages from the perpetrator or a liable third party as a result of bringing a civil claim. Although not everyone will secure compensation, it is important for you to contact an expert law firm to analyze your rights and to determine whether you should pursue your claims.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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Although criminal prosecution may hold sexual assault perpetrators accountable, deter them from committing future crimes, and provide victims with some restitution, a civil action may more completely compensate the victim for the physical and psychological injuries caused by the assault. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, do not hesitate to call upon personal injury attorneys who are skilled and experienced in sexual assault cases to assess your situation and determine whether a civil action might be available to compensate you for the damages you suffered.

There is never a charge to talk to a sexual abuse attorney at the law firm of Bernstein & Maryanoff. With a principal office in Miami, numerous other offices across Florida, and the willingness to make house calls, our attorneys will be there when you need them. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis

Additional Sexual Assault Resources and Information

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