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Am I Entitled to Compensation after Being Sexually Assaulted?

Apr 08, 2022
Last updated Dec 11, 2023
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Survivors of sexual assault, their families, and surrounding communities suffer from repercussions that cannot, and should not, be understated. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, in the United States, 81% of women and 43% of men have reported that they have experienced some sort of sexual assault in their lifetime. Unfortunately, in reality, the statistics are much higher due to unreported and un-convicted sexual offenses.

While achieving justice is elusive within criminal courts, civil litigation can help you acquire compensation and peace of mind during these trying times. If you were sexually assaulted, contact the lawyers at Edwards Henderson for a free legal consultation. They can help you understand your legal rights.

What is the Difference Between Criminal Sexual Assault Charges and a Civil Lawsuit?

Every survivor of sexual assault seeks justice differently. Often it depends on the factors of the situation and the individual’s personal desires. When it comes to filing a complaint for any act of sexual violence, the survivor can choose to seek criminal charges or file a civil lawsuit.

You may be wondering why a survivor would want to initiate a civil lawsuit after experiencing the agony of sexual assault. While criminal sexual assault charges target the person liable for the offenses, they are harder to maintain than civil lawsuits. This is because criminal sexual assault charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; in other words, there needs to be substantial evidence to start a criminal case.

Additionally, criminal cases tend to put the survivor and their lives on the stand as a witness to publicly disclose their devastating experience to a jury who may, or may not, find the accuser guilty. If the attacker is found not guilty, it can lead to further feelings of victimization. In this instance of feeling angry or betrayed, there is another remedy for the situation: a civil lawsuit.

What is a Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuit?

Civil lawsuits are private legal actions that survivors can take to recover monetary compensation, and possibly punitive damages, which directly punish the offender. This can be a practical option for survivors of sexual assault because there is a lower burden of proof compared to criminal court.

There is never a guarantee that a survivor will receive a successful resolution when they file a lawsuit, which is why it is important to speak to the lawyers at Edwards Henderson about your best course of action. Our results for survivors of sexual abuse speak for themselves.

Who Can File a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Assault and Abuse?

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you are able to pursue legal justice. It may seem like your attacker has an advantage over you when it comes to legal action, but you have rights too. Aside from criminal consequences, you can file a civil lawsuit against your attacker, and anyone who has caused, contributed, or was a bystander to the crime.

When pursuing a civil lawsuit, the consequences for the defendant (typically the individual who committed the crime) include granting you monetary compensation for damages or injuries.

In the same way, you can file a civil lawsuit against a third party – that is, any other person or business who contributed to the incident in any way. A business may be held liable for abuse if it failed to screen and conduct background checks on employees or failed to investigate and/or report allegations of suspicious activity and behavior.

For example, if a child was sexually abused in church, at camp, in the Boy Scouts, or on a youth sports team and the organization failed to run background checks on their employees, which could have revealed that they were unfit to care for children, you may have a civil claim against that organization for their part in failing to prevent the sexual assault. This compensation would then be known to you as civil damages.

Why Should I File a Civil Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

Survivors of sexual assault should always seek medical attention as soon as possible. In addition to ensuring that the attacker did not transmit any diseases and that you do not have any internal injuries, seeking medical attention can also help verify your experience and maintain viable records to prove that the assault happened. In this regard, you can more easily hold your perpetrator, and all liable parties, accountable for the crimes they committed in a civil sexual abuse lawsuit.

A civil lawsuit could also be beneficial to your situation, as you would be potentially preventing that attacker from committing any future sexual abuse or preventing sexual abuse from happening in the establishment that failed to protect you. There is a certain peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have prevented other people from having to experience any sort of attack. A civil lawsuit can help you achieve this and financial compensation for the hurt and agony you have endured.

Ready to Speak Out? Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers Are Here To Help

The pain and suffering one endures during, and long after, sexual assault can never be assessed to any amount of money. Money cannot heal injuries or erase experiences, but a civil lawsuit can help you speak your story and prevent other people like you from suffering such callous encounters. If you are a survivor of sexual assault and would like to pursue compensation for your injuries and suffering, contact the lawyers at Edwards Henderson for a confidential and free legal consultation. They can help you explore if a civil lawsuit is right for you.

Article Sources

  1. National Sexual Violence Resource Center

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