Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Sexual AssaultSexual assault can comprise a variety of actions perpetuated against a victim including but not limited to rape, oral penetration, inappropriate touching, child molestation, exhibitionism or anal penetration. Sexual assault, in general, is the forced sexual contact of a victim against their will.
Sexual assault statutes have been created at the state level and define the penalty and definition for this action. The age where victims may submit to sexual contact can also vary by state, for instance, some states consider it sexual assault if the victim is less than 15 or sixteen years of age and the perpetuator is more than four years older than the victim. Sexual assault is generally considered a felony offense.
Elements of the crime which are considered by law enforcement and eventually the courts can include the nature of the sexual contact, the part of the body touched, the words which accompanied the sexual act and whether there were any types of additional threats made to the victim.
Sexual assault most frequently involves a man and a woman, but it can also include two men, two women or a man or a woman with a child. In the United States it is estimated that up to 3.7 million women per year may have been a victim of some type of unwanted sexual contact and up to 300,000 may be the victim of a rape. Child sexual assaults may be as high as 80,000 per year.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Sexual Assault
Most victims realize that sexual assault is a criminal act and the perpetrator can be charged with a crime, but many victims do not realize that they also may be able to receive monetary compensation for any losses or damages from the sexual assault.
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault you have the legal right to file a personal injury claim. The personal injury claim is a civil lawsuit separate from any criminal charges that may be brought by the prosecutor against the perpetrator.
Getting financial compensation from a sexual assault claim
If you have been injured or suffered loss from a sexual assault and you can prove the elements of a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for:
Payment for current and future medical bills
Past and future counseling and therapy
Loss in earning capacity
Emotional distress and pain and suffering
Keep in mind, proving a sexual assault in a criminal court may have a higher burden of proof than a civil case. Even if the perpetrator is not convicted of a crime you may still be able to receive compensation for your personal injury claim if you win your civil case. A civil case gives you the opportunity to stand up for your rights and make sure that the perpetrator pays for any damages, pain and suffering or monetary loss that you have suffered.
All personal injury claims should be filed as soon as possible after the event occurred due to the statute of limitations for each state. For instance, the Florida statute of limitations for commencing a sexual assault lawsuit is as follows:
Seven years after the age of majority (any time before your 25th birthday),
Four years after the victim leaves the dependency of the abuser (even if you are older than 25), or
Four years from the time of the discovery of both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse.
Due to the complexity and emotional nature of sexual abuse, it is a good idea to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with this subject matter.