Sexual assault can result in many types of damages to the survivor, from medical expenses to lost wages to emotional pain and suffering. While criminal prosecution may provide some justice to you if you are a sexual assault survivor, putting the perpetrator behind bars does not always remedy these other losses. However, you can claim additional compensation for these expenses through a civil lawsuit.
What Is a Sexual Assault Settlement?
When you suffer injuries, emotional damage, and financial strain as a result of someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or violence, you have legal options available to you. When you think of sexual assault charges, you may think that pursuing criminal action against the perpetrator is your only option – but you can also claim financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal injury lawsuits are claims filed in civil court that allow you to collect monetary damages as a result of the assault you suffered. Separate from criminal prosecution, you can claim multiple types of damages for a sexual assault claim.
- Past and future medical expenses related to the assault
- Medications, therapy appointments, and other mental health treatments
- Lost wages due to recovery time
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
The types of damages you can claim in your lawsuit will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Speak to an attorney to determine which damages you may be eligible for.
Can You Pursue Civil and Criminal Charges?
You may wonder if you could pursue civil damages in addition to criminal charges, or if your case is eligible for a lawsuit if the perpetrator is in prison. The answer to these questions is yes: you can pursue both civil and criminal action against the person who committed sexual assault. This is because civil lawsuits undergo a different legal process from criminal prosecution.
The purpose of criminal charges is to punish the offender, not to provide compensation or recovery for the victim. You may feel a sense of closure and justice if your perpetrator is behind bars, but it may not be enough for recovery. You can claim financial compensation for your injuries through a civil lawsuit in addition to pressing charges against the perpetrator, leading to more tangible recovery for you.
How to Prove a Sexual Assault Civil Case
Different states have different statutes of limitations under which you can bring a lawsuit for a sexual assault, with some as little as one year from the date of the assault. Research your state’s timeline and make an appointment with an attorney to ensure you meet this deadline.
After you file your lawsuit, you and your attorney will work closely together to investigate and build a compelling case in your favor. Unlike sexual assault criminal trials, which require a burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, you will need to prove a preponderance of evidence to establish the perpetrator’s liability.
This means that you will have to argue that it is more likely than not that the perpetrator committed an act of sexual assault against you. In a criminal trial, all jurors must agree that the assault occurred – in a civil trial, only 9 out of 12 jurors have to agree.
How Can an Attorney Help with a Sexual Assault Civil Lawsuit?
If you are planning on filing a lawsuit against the person who sexually assaulted you, an attorney can provide significant benefits to your claim. Your attorney will be familiar with the legal processes involved with filing your lawsuit, including the paperwork and steps you need to take to successfully file. In addition, your attorney will have access to a wide range of resources to investigate and prove your case, including expert witnesses.
If you are the victim of sexual assault, you can pursue civil action against the perpetrator – even if he or she has already received a criminal punishment. Through a lawsuit, you can seek compensation for numerous types of damages, including medical expenses, emotional distress, and lost wages. Contact a rideshare sexual assault lawyer as soon as possible to begin the legal process.