Today, the Bankruptcy Court officially approved the Boy Scout of America (BSA) Proof of Claims form—the document all scouting abuse victims must submit.
If you’re a victim of scouting abuse, you have the right to file this form against the BSA, but you must act fast. The deadline to file a form is November 16, 2020. That gives victims only five months to file, afterwards, barring them from ever coming forward again.
At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, we understand taking action requires you to relive painful memories from your past but the sooner you can come forward, the better.
While you may attempt to fill out the proof of claims form by yourself, you should seek the support of a trusted attorney, considering a single mistake on the form could result in a barred claim or reduced compensation.
For more information on why it’s highly encouraged for victims to work with an experienced attorney when filling out a proof of claims form, continue reading below.
The proof of claims form is lengthy. It requires victims to include personal information about their education and employment. It also lists a series of questions for victims to answer about when and where the abuse occurred, and its impact on the scout.
For most, these questions will be difficult to relive and answer, especially if it happened many years ago. A sexual abuse attorney can help you understand each section, and advise you on what type of information and documentation are most beneficial to include when filling out the form.
The proof of claims form helps the council and court determine the legal merit of each individual claim. However, a single mistake on the form may result in your claim being barred forever, lowering your risks for justice and compensation.
An experienced attorney understands the ways in which mediators and trustees evaluate claims forms. They also know the inherent rights and wrongs of a legal case, and will work with you to ensure the form is free of error.
They’ll go through each section of the form with you, independently gathering as much information as possible to ensure your claim is accurate. They’ll inquire about:
- The abuser, including their position, title, and relationship to you in scouting.
- The type of abuse.
- The aftermath of the abuse, including how it affected, harmed, damaged, or injured you.
- Sponsoring organizations and units (if any).
- Your troop.
Talking through this information with an experienced sexual abuse attorney can give you peace of mind, knowing you carefully filled out the form and filed it with the correct parties.
Some victims may opt to fill out the form on their own because they do not want to pay an attorney to assist with the claims process. Fortunately, some attorneys take on cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning they will not charge fees upfront.
This shifts the risk from the victim to the attorney because they do not charge for preparing your case or going to trial. It’s only after you reach a settlement that the attorney receives any form of payment, so it’s in their best interest to help you seek the justice you deserve from the start.
We also understand some victims may attempt to file the claims form alone because they’re scared or embarrassed to come forward. At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, your privacy is our top priority. We’re also working with experienced social workers who know the ins and outs of proving sexual abuse, and will help guide you through the emotional process.
If You Filed a Proof of Claims Form, Follow Boy Scouts Updates Here
The experts at Hurley McKenna & Mertz represent more than 1,400 former Boy Scouts who are victims of sexual abuse. We’re tracking all of the news related to the Boy Scouts bankruptcy filing and what it means for claimants.
You can see all the latest updates here.