Can a Sexual Assault Victim File a Lawsuit for Damages?

Michael John Tario's Sexual Abuse Legal Blogs

Licensed for 37 years

Attorney in Bellingham, WA

Michael John Tario

Free initial consultation, Credit cards accepted

Serving Bellingham, WA

  • Serving Bellingham, WA

  • Free initial consultation, Credit cards accepted

Member at firm Tario & Associates, P.S.

Serving Bellingham, WA

Free initial consultation, Credit cards accepted

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We think of a sexual assault being prosecuted in a criminal
case, but a sex crime can also be part of a lawsuit in a civil
case
. While a criminal charge against a perpetrator can bring fines,
probation and jail time; a civil lawsuit is aimed at monetary compensation for
the victim of the sexual assault.

Legal theory used to
file for damages in a personal injury lawsuit

A “cause of action” is the legal theory used to file a
personal injury lawsuit. Since there is no cause of action called “sexual
assault,” the personal injury lawyer will choose another legal theory under
which to hold the perpetrator liable; commonly, assault and battery or
intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Whatever legal theory is used in the civil case, damages for
a sexual assault case will be granted on the basis of the physical and
emotional harm the victim suffered, and will continue to suffer, as a direct result
of the abuse.

Sexual assault and sexual abuse cases often cause great,
long-lasting harm to the victim and garner a lot of sympathy from juries who may
award very high damages. The trouble is that unless the perpetrator is wealthy,
the victim may not ever be able to collect the money. Part of the problem is
that most liability insurance policies exclude coverage for intentional acts,
so the only source of compensation is usually the abuser’s personal assets.

Suing others besides
the abuser

In some cases, a civil suit is brought against another party
in addition to the abuser. In situations where the abuse happened at a
workplace, school, church or other institution the employer or organization’s
owner could also be liable based on negligent supervision, complicity or
cover-up or a failure to provide adequate security.

Standard of proof in
civil cases

If the defendant was found guilty in a criminal prosecution,
then the civil case may have a better chance for success. Using a complex legal
rule known as “collateral estoppel”, the personal injury attorney may bring in
evidence that a jury in a criminal case has already found the defendant guilty
of committing the abuse.

Even in situations where there was no criminal case or the
defendant was found “not guilty”, the civil case may still be successful because
the standard of proof is lower in a civil case. The plaintiff need only prove
that it is more likely than not that the defendant committed the alleged
wrongful act, called “by a preponderance of the evidence” in legalese. Comparatively,
a prosecutor in a criminal case must prove that the defendant committed the act
“beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Personal injury
lawyers handle civil cases

A civil injury lawyer, also called a personal injury lawyer
is the best type of attorney to handle a civil case for the victim of sexual
assault. If you were victimized by a sexual assault, seek the guidance of a
civil injury attorney who can go over the details of your case and help you
fight for damages.

If you or a loved is dealing with an accident or injury, you
have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident
attorney
fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not
uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten
times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in
Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing
residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County
since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we
recover damages for you!

We think of a sexual assault being prosecuted in a criminal
case, but a sex crime can also be part of a lawsuit in a rel=”nofollow” >civil
case. While a criminal charge against a perpetrator can bring fines,
probation and jail time; a civil lawsuit is aimed at monetary compensation for
the victim of the sexual assault.

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