Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuit – Sexual Assault Attorney
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Representation For Victims of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience and can completely alter your life physically, mentally and financially. Sexual assault victims often need to seek therapy to overcome the traumatic experience, in addition to lost wages or loss of support stemming from the assault. Unfortunately, criminal proceedings do not award damages to victims. To mitigate some of the financial burden that can soar from seeking and receiving the help you need, it is important that you and your family file a civil sexual assault lawsuit to receive the compensation you deserve to move forward.
You no longer have to be the victim.
Take Back Control
Accountability is making a person own responsibility for their actions. If you have been sexually assaulted, you can hold the perpetrator and an institution accountable. For example, when an institution employs a sex offender and fails to supervise them, it can be held accountable. Or, when an apartment complex fails to provide adequate security to keep its residents safe, it can be held accountable.
If you or your loved one were assaulted in a childcare facility, place of worship, school, hospital or commercial facility, you can be confident that The Carlson Law Firm will dedicate 100 percent of its resources to fight for justice. A sexual assault attorney can help you determine whether you can hold the perpetrator, landowner, employer or another party accountable for the harm you suffered.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual abuse, or sexual assault, boils down to consent. No one can touch you in a sexual manner without getting the OK from you. Children, in the state of Texas, cannot give consent. Texas laws define a child as any person younger than the age of 17.
In recent years, the definition of abuse has expanded to include any sexual activity perpetrated “by threat, force, intimidation, or manipulation,” including, non-contact abuse such as exposure and voyeurism.
Who Does Sexual Abuse Affect?
The child sexual abuse, or molestation, statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, show that:
- 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of child sexual abuse.
- During a one-year period, 16 percent of youth ages 14 to 17 will be sexually victimized.
- Over the course of their lifetime, 28 percent of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 have been sexually abused.
- Children are most vulnerable between the ages of 7 and 13.
Sexual Violence Statistics in adults:
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
- 8 percent of rapes occur while the victim is at work.
- The estimated lifetime cost of rape is $122,461 per victim.
Who Commits Acts of Sexual Abuse?
In a majority of cases, sexual assault survivors know or are casually acquainted with their abusers. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), “approximately seven out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.” Rape can be broken into three categories:
- Intimate Partner Rape: Refers to sexual assault committed by a person in a romantic relationship with the victim.
- Date rape, or acquaintance rape: Perpetrators are usually casually known to their victims. They can be classmates, neighbors, the significant other of a friend, or any number of roles.
- Stranger rape: In these instances, the perpetrator is not known to the victim at all. Stranger rape can take many forms:
- Blitz sexual assault: A victim is quickly and brutally assaulted with no prior contact. Usually occurs are night in a public place.
- Contact sexual assault: A stranger tries to gain the trust of their victim and lure an unsuspecting victim into a situation where the sexual assault will occur
- Home invasion sexual assault: A stranger breaks into the victim’s home to commit sexual assault.
Effects of Sexual Assault and Rape
Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is rape. Rape is a legal term that is usually reserved for acts that include sexual penetration without consent. Sexual assault is a broader definition that refers to the general sexual contact or behavior without explicit consent from a victim. Survivors can immediately begin dealing with extremely distressing emotions following a sexual assault or rape. Every survivor responds to the damaging effects of sexual violence different. The healing process can seem like a lonely path, but you don’t have to go it alone. The Carlson Law Firm can help you get the resources you need to ease the pain in the aftermath of sexual assault. Survivors often experience physical, mental and emotional effects including, but not limited to:
Physical Effects of Sexual Assault
- Difficulty walking
- Fractured or dislocated bones
- Sexually transmitted diseases
Mental Effects of Sexual Assault
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Disassociation (unable to focus on work, school work and inability to be present in everyday life)
Emotional Effects of Sexual Assault
- Loss of control
- Changes in trusting others; for children, this can manifest as a mistrust of adults.
- Self-blame/ guilt
- Survivors can sometimes develop feelings of being damaged or undeserving of a better life. In some cases, survivors can turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with the overwhelming feelings of sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Justice in Civil Courts
Texas does not have a statute of limitations for criminal cases involving:
- Aggravated Rape;
- Rape where DNA evidence is collected, but the suspect is not immediately identified; and
- Rape where the perpetrator is an alleged serial rapist.
However, the state has a 10-year statute of limitations on sexual assault and other offenses in the criminal courts, so it is important that you report any sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities in a timely manner. For civil lawsuits, survivors of adult sexual assault must file their claim within five years of the event; while child sexual assault survivors have 15 years from their 18th birthday to file a claim.
Civil courts do not need to prove the innocence or guilt of an offender. Instead, it determines the liability of an offender or a third party in the damages or injuries sustained from the crime. Civil court findings liability usually result in an offender or negligible third party paying a survivor monetary damages. It can provide victims with financial resources to rebuild their lives.
My Abuser Was Found Not Guilty, Can I Still Seek Accountability?
Yes. Survivors of sexual assault or abuse can still sue the perpetrator in civil court, no matter the outcome of criminal proceedings. The major difference between a criminal case and a civil case, is a criminal case views the perpetrator as innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and holds the perpetrator accountable to the state. On the other hand, a civil case is victim-led and holds the perpetrator accountable to the victim. Both are equally important in your fight for justice.
I Don’t Need A Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuit; I Was Given Restitution By The Criminal Court.
While criminal courts may order a perpetrator to reimburse certain expenses incurred by survivors, or guardians of the survivors, restitution is often not collected. The lack of enforcement, coupled with the court’s inability to order restitution for non-economic damages, often means that restitution falls short of meeting a survivor’s needs.
Third Party Negligence
Businesses, schools and other organizations can be held responsible for negligence that created the conditions that led to sexual assault.
A facility can be held responsible when it negligently:
- Hired the perpetrator without doing an adequate background check.
- Supervised its employees.
- Retained an employee after potential predatory signs.
- Trains its employees on how to watch out for signs of potential sexual assault.
- Enforces guidelines on how to prevent sexual assault
- Fails to supply the necessary security to protect its employees and customers
- Fails to investigate complaints of an alleged sexual assault.
At The Carlson Law Firm, we will investigate all of the details surrounding your case and help you fight for the proper compensation. If aggravated factors existed—such as the threat of violence, injury, kidnapping, brandishing or use of a deadly weapon, or an administered substance—we will make sure you receive every penny for the suffering and duress you endured.
The a Sexual Assault Attorney From The Carlson Law Firm Can Help You Rebuild
Sexual assault and abuse can take its toll on your well being, but you don’t have to go through it alone. The Carlson Law Firm is ready to guide you through the legal steps you can take to begin the process of rebuilding your life after a sexual assault. We can help you determine where you can hold the perpetrator, landowner, employer or another party accountable for the harm you suffered. Our compassionate, hard-hitting legal team is the legal advocate you need. We have a team of attorneys with the knowledge, skill and passion for justice that you deserve in your fight for justice. Contact our firm today for more information on how we can assist you with a civil sexual assault lawsuit.
Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we care and we can help.