Personal Injury Due to Sexual Assault
Most commonly, we hear of the criminal aspect of sexual assault, but there are also civil claims that a victim may be able to bring against the party (or parties) responsible. Depending on the facts of the case, the responsible party, or defendant, may be the assailant, their employer or another person that was involved in the assault. The victim may be able to bring personal injury claims for injuries suffered as a result of the sexual assault committed against him or her. When brining a personal injury case, the plaintiff (injured party or loved one bringing the lawsuit on the injured party’s behalf) must be able to prove certain elements to the court. The elements are these:
- The injured party was sexually assaulted by the assailant.
- The injured party suffered damages as a result of this assault (damages may be physical or emotional injuries).
- The defendant was the cause of the victim’s injuries and the cause was either intentional or negligent in nature.
Generally, if an individual (assailant) intentionally caused the victim’s injuries, he or she is the party held responsible for those injuries (the defendant). In other cases, the assailant’s employer or another party may be held responsible due to negligence. If negligence was the cause of the victim’s injuries, those elements must be proven to the court as well. The elements of negligence are as follows:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the injured party to keep them safe from harm.
- The defendant breached this legal duty of care.
- By breaching this duty, the defendant caused the physical or emotional injuries suffered by the victim.
- The victim suffered actual injuries as a result.
If you or a loved one was injured due to a sexual assault, it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney in your area. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to explain your legal rights and options, and help you determine what the best course of action is in your situation.
Compensation for Injuries Due to a Sexual Assault
In a personal injury case, the victim (plaintiff) may be awarded damages for his or her injuries from the court. The judge or jury will determine the amount of damages based on the extent or severity of the victim’s injuries and the amount of legal responsibility the defendant has for those injuries. The damages will be monetary in nature and are intended to compensate the victim for expenses he or she incurred as a result of the sexual assault related injuries. The costs taken into consideration by the fact finder (judge or jury) may be physical, emotional or other expenses (depending on the circumstances of the case). Examples of the victim’s damages may be pain and suffering, medical bills, future health care costs, loss of wages, loss of future earning capacity, loss of enjoyment/quality of life, loss of consortium (by the victim’s spouse) or other fact-specific expenses. A number of factors may be considered when determining the amount of compensation a victim may be awarded. It will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, the amount of costs the victim has incurred (financially and emotionally) and the permanence or severity of the damages the victim has suffered.
Consult with an Attorney
It is important to speak to a personal injury attorney in your area to determine what types of compensation are offered in your jurisdiction. An attorney can also answer any questions you may have and help you find out more about what legal options are available to you.
Preparing to Meet with Your Personal Injury Attorney
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