Are you wondering about your legal rights as a victim of sexual assault? You may be struggling with questions like:
An experienced sexual assault attorney can help you find the answers to those questions and many more. Contact us today and we can recommend sexual assault attorneys near you that will offer a free consultation.
Crimes of sexual violence are some of the most heinous acts one person can commit against another. Consequently, victims of sexual abuse, assault, or harassment often suffer from trauma that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Reporting these crimes to law enforcement can lead to a criminal investigation and a possible prison sentence for the perpetrator. However, the criminal justice system often fails to directly address the needs of sexual assault survivors.
The terms sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault are often used interchangeably to describe situations where unwanted & unconsented sexual contact occurs. Yet, different states have different definitions for each, a fact that becomes important when filing a legal claim.
Most states define sexual assault as any type of undesired sexual act that occurs without consent. On the other hand, the term sexual harassment is often used to describe verbal incidents or those where physical contact did not occur. Lastly, the term sexual misconduct, as with sexual assault, is generally used to describe a broad category of sex crimes.
Less broadly speaking, there are some clear acts that can be considered criminal, including:
If you're unsure whether what you experienced constitutes sexual assault, a sexual assault attorney can help you learn more about the laws in your state.
The criminal justice system allows the victim of sexual abuse to seek justice via a legal claim. Claims in the criminal justice system are separate from any official charges processed by the criminal system. Most importantly for victims, whether someone is found guilty of sex crime charges or not is not relevant to the potential compensation that could be awarded in a civil lawsuit.
An individual who has been sexually assaulted usually has grounds for further recourse outside of the criminal justice system in the form of a civil lawsuit. The road to recovery for victims of sexual assault is long and challenging but can be made easier with the right support system. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, a victim of sexual assault may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator, a negligent third party, or both.
As a victim, determining the best course of legal action will likely require assistance from sexual assault lawyers. The law surrounding these cases is not only complex but also dynamic; you want a law firm that is up-to-date with the latest legislation and familiar with recent cases in the space.
The Legal Herald can connect you with a national network of sexual assault lawyers who dedicate their practice to helping their clients find the answers, support, and justice they need and deserve. You can learn more about your legal rights as a survivor of sexual assault by speaking with one of these attorneys.
Filing a civil sexual assault lawsuit can provide financial compensation for both economic and personal damages suffered by a victim and their loved ones. A successful settlement or verdict for sexual assault victims can provide monetary compensation for damages like:
While a lawsuit may not erase the trauma suffered by survivors of sexual violence, it can help provide the financial support needed to eventually recover. In this sense, sexual assault lawsuits can help survivors in ways that the criminal justice system fails to do so.
Both sexual predators and negligent third parties can be held liable in sexual assault victims’ lawsuits, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. It’s common for sexual predators in positions of trust to be sued by their victims – such as doctors who sexually assault their patients.
Additionally, there are many cases in which a third party had a legal duty to prevent a sexual assault, but failed to do so through negligence. Third parties that are commonly named in sexual assault lawsuits include, but are not limited to:
Criminal investigations seek to hold sexual predators accountable for their crimes, but in cases involving negligent third parties, the perpetrators are not the only ones who deserve to be held accountable. Civil lawsuits help demand accountability from these negligent third parties for allowing an otherwise preventable sexual assault to occur and playing a role in the suffering and trauma of innocent victims.
Additionally, taking legal action against these negligent third parties not only provides financial support for the victims but can spark changes that may prevent others from being sexually assaulted in the future.
For example, a youth organization that previously failed to adequately protect children from their program from sexual predators may make changes after being sued which can help prevent other participants from suffering abuse.
Furthermore, there are some situations in which filing a lawsuit for sexual assault can help provide justice when the criminal justice system fails to convict a sexual predator. Because the burden of proof is less strict in civil cases, sexual predators can be held accountable through lawsuits after being acquitted in criminal courts if there is a preponderance of evidence – meaning it is more likely than not that the accused is guilty.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual assault or child sexual abuse, we understand the difficulties you’re facing. Our national network of sexual assault attorneys can help people in your situation find justice and the support you need to move past your trauma.
These aren't just sole attorneys. By your side, you will have an experienced law firm with the resources, dedication, and experience needed to help a victim find justice. They know how to hold sexual predators accountable for their crimes and violence, how to recover the full financial compensation victims deserve, and how to win a sexual assault case.
You can learn more about your legal rights by contacting the Legal Herald and asking for a referral to a law firm today.