The money you receive as compensation for suffering childhood sexual abuse from clergy of a New York Catholic church depends on the nature of your case. As of March 3, 2019, more than 1,260 sex abuse claims against New York’s various dioceses have resulted in compensation of at least $228 million to victims via the dioceses’ Independent Reconciliation Compensation Programs (IRCP) funds.
How Compensation Amounts Are Determined
If you receive compensation from the Archdiocese of New York’s IRCP, the amount of money you get as a New York Catholic Church sexual abuse survivor is determined by the fund administrators. They have final say on this amount, for which there is no cap, and each victim is offered a sum that the administrators believe will enable the victims “to find healing and closure.”
If your compensation is awarded as part of a jury verdict in a civil lawsuit, the amount will be decided based on evidence that supports your damages.
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Archdiocese of New York IRCP Settlements
As of April 27, 2019, 323 people have received a total of $65 million over the course of three years from New York’s IRCP. Anticipating insurance companies’ reluctance to payout, the Archdiocese has sued more than 24 insurance companies, demanding that they be compelled to cover these abuse claims.
According to the Archdiocese, accepting a settlement from the IRCP fund precludes victims from filing future civil lawsuits against the Church, as recipients are required to sign a release form stating as much. This is something to keep in mind when considering how much money you can get as a New York Catholic Church sexual abuse survivor.
Attempt to Void IRCP Releases to Allow Civil Lawsuits
Still, some sex abuse survivors are now having a problem with the settlement amounts they have received, claiming that the IRCP settlement attorneys were not acting in the victims’ best interests. One plaintiff who sued the Archdiocese in February 2019 feels as though he was tricked into settling and waiving his right to file a lawsuit.
Decades-Old Sex Abuse Cases Revived Via NY’s Child Victims Act
This lawsuit happened to coincide with New York Governor Cuomo signing into law the Child Victims Act, which serves to open a one-year revival window during which victims of child sex abuse have 12 months (from August 2019) to revive old civil lawsuits against the Church that were formerly barred due to expiration of the statute of limitations. The “look-back window” applies to any sex abuse victim of any age, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
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Whether to File a Lawsuit or Accept IRCP Settlements
The Child Victims Act has opened a floodgate of lawsuits against New York Catholic churches. Child sex abuse survivors now face the decision of whether to take their cases to trial or to accept settlements from the IRCP.
Many victims do not find themselves in a financial position to reject a settlement. Although a civil lawsuit might result in larger compensation, these survivors are reluctant to take the risk of receiving nothing from the alternative route—litigating their case at trial.
Let Us Help You Get the Maximum Settlement for Your Church Sex Abuse Case
It is difficult, if not impossible to place a monetary value on the damage suffered by a child after experiencing sexual abuse. The violation extends far beyond any conceivable dollar figure. Still, the unprecedented ability to have your story of abuse acknowledged and to walk away with a tangible representation of the Catholic Church’s wrongdoing might make pursuing compensation a healthy component in your healing.
The attorneys at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., want to help you with this healing. If it would further your healing process and enhance the ultimate case outcome, we want to give you the platform for telling your story of abuse. We want to empower you and enable you to receive fair compensation for your suffering and get money as a New York Catholic Church sexual abuse survivor
Call us today at (516) 932-0400 for a free case review and consultation.