Frequently asked questions

Civil representation for victims of crime

What types of abuse can an abuse survivor sue for in civil court?

Sexual, physical and emotional abuse can all give rise to a civil lawsuit

Do abusers have to be arrested and convicted of a sexual abuse crime before a survivor can recover damages in civil court?

No. The criminal justice system deals with arrests, criminal charges, convictions and punishment.” Leave the other two sentences after that as they are.

What are the differences between criminal and civil abuse cases?

In the criminal case, the abuse survivor is a witness but not a party. So the abuse survivor does not get to make decisions about what happens in the criminal case. In the civil case, the survivor is a party to the action with a right to make decisions about the case. A criminal case may result in jail time for the perpetrator. A civil case may result in a money judgment for the survivor.

Who can abuse survivors sue in a civil case?

The survivor can sue anyone who was involved in injuring them. This could include the perpetrator but may also include other people or entities that had an opportunity to stop the abuse but did not. For instance, in the situation of priest abuse cases, the priest is the perpetrator but survivors also sued the church because leaders often knew about the abuse but did not do anything to stop it. This has happened in churches, schools, daycares, and many other places.

What can I expect to happen once I decide to hire Koller Trial Law?

Before we file a lawsuit on your behalf, we will do a thorough investigation to collect all the evidence that is available and talk to possible witnesses. We will spend time with you to fully understand what has happened. Together, we will decide whether to file a lawsuit and how to pursue it.

How long is the legal process?

There is no one answer to this question. Some cases settle fairly quickly, others require a trial. An Oklahoma state court trial can take up to two years to resolve from the time of filing.

Will my work find out about this?

There are ways to file very sensitive cases anonymously. We can discuss whether this process is in your best interest and how to pursue it.

Can you put the abuser in jail?

No. Only the criminal system can put a perpetrator in jail.

Are there any benefits besides money damages to suing?

Yes. In some cases we can negotiate non-economic terms to a settlement such as requiring changes in background checks or changes in other policies & procedures.

Victims of sexual assault and abuse -children

(within institutions such as schools / clubs)

My child has been sexually molested. What should I do?

Call Koller Trial Law and we can help you through the reporting and investigation process. We can also help you access resources to get help for your child. Reporting any type of child abuse includes notifying DHS and law enforcement.

Should I take my very young child to counseling if he or she is not talking about the abuse?

There are different types of therapy for younger children that will help them process what has happened. This includes art therapy, play therapy, and other techniques. It is not necessary that your child “talk” about it, but is helpful that your child work with a safe, competent therapist to help reduce the harm from the abuse.

Do I need a civil lawyer after discovering my child has been abused?

You should consult with a civil lawyer so that you understand what all your legal options are for dealing with what has happened.

Victims of sexual assault and abuse - adults

(massage therapist, medical, nursing homes)

If I was sexually abused many years ago, can I still bring a civil lawsuit for damages?

This usually depends on what state you lived in at the time of the abuse and what state you were in when the abuse occurred. Some states have longer periods of time to bring a civil lawsuit than others. Koller Trial Law can help you figure out how much time you have to file a civil case.

What is institutional sexual abuse?

Institutional sexual abuse refers to abuse that occurs in specific settings. Perpetrators of sexual abuse often seek environments where they can find people who are vulnerable. This may include nursing homes, group homes, colleges, or other group settings. Because of this, institutions may have a duty to screen employees and supervise them in a way to minimize the risk of abuse.

What is not considered institutional sexual abuse?

Where a perpetrator has acted alone or the abuse arises out of a domestic situation at home this is not usually considered institutional sexual abuse.

What damages can victims suffer as a result of sexual abuse?

Research on the harm from sexual abuse is ongoing. Science has already shown that sexual abuse can cause changes in an individual’s DNA, create ongoing health problems, and shorten an individual’s life span. Sexual abuse typically also causes psychological harm. The extent of the harm depends on the individual, their age at the time of the abuse, and the response of the individual and their family or community to the abuse.

What are the benefits of filing suit against the institution and predator involved in my abuse?

One benefit of filing suit in this type of case is to help reduce the chance that the perpetrator harms other people. A lawsuit may also change institutional practices that allowed the abuse to occur. Lawsuits may also result in money judgments for victims and survivors.

Victims of negligence

(shopping malls, parking lots, apartment complexes, parking garages – where there’s an expectation the property owner is keeping an area safe but does not)

What is Civil Negligence?

Negligence is a failure to do what an ordinary person would do in a particular situation.

Can an apartment complex be held liable for an attack on their property?

Yes, if the apartment complex had reason to suspect that security was necessary and it was not provided. This can include something as simple as adequate locks or far more extensive security, depending on the danger the complex could have known about.

What damages can be recovered under a negligent security action?

Money damages for inadequate security in a public setting can include compensation for physical injuries, emotional trauma, loss of wages, and many other consequences of violence.

Human trafficking victims

Who is a “victim of human trafficking?”

The majority of human trafficking in this country is actually for the purpose of labor. Human trafficking is also done for sexual purposes.

What is the most commonly identified form of trafficking?

Media stories often focus on sex trafficking, but the most common form of trafficking is for cheap labor. However, because Oklahoma is a crossroads state, sex trafficking is also common here.

Who are the victims of human trafficking?

Victims of sex trafficking are often girls and young women who are in vulnerable positions to begin with, such as runaways, homeless or those with an unstable homes. Victims of labor trafficking often include legal and illegal immigrants, the economically disadvantaged, and others with little power or control.

What types of industries are involved with human trafficking?

Labor trafficking is seen in domestic services, the hotel and restaurant business, entertainment businesses, agriculture, as well as illegal enterprises.

VICTIMS OF STALKING

What is stalking?

Stalking is unwanted obsessive attention from one person or group to another. It is harassment or intimidation. Stalking may include an individual’s physical behaviors such as following or monitoring someone or showing up in unwanted places. Stalking may also include the use of technology to harass or intimidate.

Can I sue a stalker?

Yes, in some cases there are civil remedies for stalking. If a third party has facilitated the stalking, they may also be sued.

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Alternatively, you can contact us confidentially online. Every employee of Koller Trial Law is trauma-informed and understands the need for extreme confidentiality.

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