OTLA Trial Lawyer Winter 2022

23 Trial Lawyer • Winter 2022 See Childhood Trauma p 24 child. Kayla’s parents were not the abusers in the underlying claim, but they were a far cry from a stabilizing presence in her life. Her mother’s parental rights were terminated prior to her placement in foster care. Her father had been recently released from prison and had no parenting experience. With only five days advance notice, the juvenile court released Kayla to her father’s custody. With his substance abuse issues, he was ultimately found to be an unfit parent. He has since been reincarcerated. It is not uncommon for the court to alter the family unit or remove the child subsequent to abuse, which, although necessary, increases the child’s trauma. In short, the trauma suffered by a minor victim of sexual assault is an ongoing physical and emotional life wrecker. Although these lifelong effects of child sexual abuse are supported by empirical data, rarely are they included in complaints as damage categories. A working knowledge of these injuries may be useful in settlement negotiations. After determining if the child is currently displaying these symptoms and behaviors, consider adding specific complaint language based upon the empirical data. After much negotiation, a substantial settlement was reached in Kayla’s case. Reaching settlement is akin to the launch phase of a space mission. Approval and ultimately administration of the settlement, potentially over decades, is the post-launch phase and over time, the majority of the mission. The size of the set t lement , fami ly dynamics and economic stability play a huge role in minimizing the morbidities and mortality of child sexual abuse. Long-term prognosis Once settlement is reached, the first step is to determine what outcomes are most likely for the child. If the child’s abuser is not a family member and the parents reliably provide food, clothing and shelter, settlement funds may be