If you have been the victim of an act of sexual violence including unwanted touching, groping or sexual battery, indecent exposure, rape, or other acts, you are eligible to file a sexual assault lawsuit with the help of an attorney whether or not your abuser has been convicted or is facing criminal charges.
Sexual abuse happens across our country every day, affecting not only adults but children as well. In fact, every nine minutes, there is a child who is sexually assaulted. Even worse is that almost 93% of these child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse or assault, you should not have to endure the devastating repercussions on your own. You may be able to take legal action by filing a sexual assault lawsuit to hold the person who injured you accountable and receive compensation for your injuries.
At David Bryant Law, we know that sexual assault is one of the most difficult crimes to come forward about. That’s why we’re here for you, with a supportive staff who will help guide you every step of the way and fight tirelessly on your behalf.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual violence, contact us today to learn how we can help you.
What Falls Under Sexual Assault Lawsuits?
What many people may not realize is there are numerous types of acts that can result in a sexual assault lawsuit. In truth, any kind of sex crime can serve as a basis for a civil lawsuit.
Some of the more common sexual assault lawsuits tend to include:
- Groping or sexual battery
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual abuse of a child
- Sexual assault by doctors or other health care professionals
- Any other non-consensual sexual act
In order to file a sexual assault lawsuit or sexual abuse lawsuit, it is not necessary that the liable party be convicted of such a crime or face criminal charges. As long as the victim can show they suffered damages because of the non-consensual sexual act or sexual misconduct, they can file a civil suit against the liable party.
Who is Eligible to Sue for Sexual Abuse, Assault, Battery, or Harassment?
Any individual that has been a victim of an unwanted sexual act or unwanted touching can sue for damages.
The victim’s family members can also sue if:
- They saw the assault, which can mean they have an action for negligent infliction of emotional distress
- The assault resulted in a loss of moral support, intimacy, or a loss of companionship
- The assault or abuse caused the victim’s death, in which case, the deceased’s family or representative can bring a suit for wrongful death
The best way to determine if you are eligible to sue for sexual abuse, assault, battery, or harassment is to speak with a knowledgeable sexual assault lawyer. These attorneys can go over your claim, determine if it is viable, and discuss your legal options with you.
Criminal vs. Civil Lawsuits Involving Sexual Harassment
Although a sexual assault incident can give rise to criminal prosecution—which could result in jail time, probation, fines, and other sanctions against the wrongful party if a conviction is obtained—a civil lawsuit is the only way a sexual assault victim can get financial compensation for the harm they suffered.
There does not need to be a corresponding criminal case for victims of sexual assault to proceed with a case in civil court.
When it comes to the standard of proof, it tends to be lower in a civil case than what needs to be proven in a criminal lawsuit.
For instance, if a defendant is to be found civilly liable for abuse, the victim needs to show only that the defendant is more likely than not the one who committed this wrongful act.
On the other hand, in a criminal case, the burden of proof requires the prosecution to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a much higher and more difficult standard to meet.
Filing Deadline for the Victim
Typically, in Kentucky, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is one year from the date of the injury. However, there are numerous exceptions and even exceptions to the exceptions that can impact the amount of time you have to file your case.
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the amount of time you have to bring a claim following an alleged offense. If you do not bring this lawsuit within this time limit, you can be barred from collecting compensation for your injuries.
Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault or Abuse of an Adult
Although the general timeline to file a claim for an injury for sexual assault is one year, if the liable party flees the state or takes steps to conceal their identity, this period of absence or concealment should not be counted as part of the filing deadline. Rather, the statute of limitations clock will be tolled or paused during this time.
Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault or Abuse of a Child
If at the time of the sexual assault, the injured individual was a child or a person of unsound mind—meaning they were under 18 years old or had been declared legally incapacitated—then the statute of limitations can extend and be filed within one year after the removal of the disability or when the child turns 18 years old or is no longer incapacitated.
Can You Claim Punitive Damages in a Sexual Assault Case?
Albeit fairly rare, under Kentucky law, the victim can recover punitive damages if they can prove with clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with fraud, oppression, or malice.
Unlike compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the victims for their losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their egregious actions and to deter them and others from committing this act again in the future.
What Should You Do if You Have Been Sexually Assaulted, Abused, or Raped?
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, abuse, or rape, it is often hard to know how to feel, what to do, or what your options are.
You need to remember that you are not alone in this and you deserve justice for the harm you endured.
That is why you must take immediate action in these situations, including the following steps:
Contact 911: If you have been seriously injured or are in imminent danger, you need to call 911 and inform law enforcement immediately.
Call Someone You Trust: If you are not feeling safe, make sure to reach out to someone you trust for support and a place where you can stay.
Look into Resources: Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline, where you will be able to connect with trained staff from a local sexual assault service provider in your area. These professionals can direct you to a local health facility and help you get the care you need.
Get to the Hospital: Two of the most important things you can do after this incident are to seek immediate help and preserve evidence. That is why it is best to head to your doctor or a hospital after you have been sexually assaulted. Even if you do not want to press charges or believe that you will file a lawsuit for the harm you endured, you still want to obtain this evidence, so you have some peace of mind that you can fight back against the wrongful party if you change your mind later.
Grappling through this terrifying ordeal can be overwhelming and stressful. Sometimes you need to talk to someone before you can even begin to process what to do next. For these reasons, the Rape and Incest National Network (RAINN) can be an excellent source of information for you, offering tips on what you need to do after you suspect your child has been harmed or steps you can take after you suffer a sexual assault.
An experienced sexual assault attorney can also be a great resource. These lawyers can discuss with you what happened, provide you the legal assistance you need, and help you figure out the actions you need to take next.
Do You Need to Hire a Sexual Assault Attorney?
If you or a loved one has been abused or sexually assaulted, the world around you may seem like it’s crumbling down. You need to understand that what happened was not your fault. You were a victim of a horrific ordeal, and you deserve justice for the losses and harm you endured.
Fortunately, with an experienced sexual assault attorney on your side, you do not have to take on this complicated legal battle on your own. These lawyers are here for you, ready to fight on your behalf, and provide you with the following assistance by:
- Going over your questions and concerns, providing sound legal advice, and determining the best legal options you can pursue.
- Investigating your case to prepare the strongest legal claim on your behalf.
- Holding all the at-fault parties accountable for your harm.
- Fighting for the maximum damages you deserve.
Do not wait any longer to seek the legal help you need. If you were harmed because of a sexual assault, contact David Bryant Law today for a free consultation and let our sexual assault lawyers show you how we can fight for you and your rights and go after the financial recovery you deserve.