Sexual abuse is extremely common in today’s society. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), someone suffers sexual assault every 68 seconds. RAINN also estimates that one out of every six women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. However, sexual abuse doesn’t affect only women; roughly ten percent of all rape victims are male. The criminal justice system does its best to identify and punish those who commit sexual assault. However, sadly, many perpetrators are able to avoid the effects of a criminal conviction.
Even when the government brings a criminal case against a perpetrator, the judge overseeing the trial does not have the ability to award damages to the survivor. However, survivors can pursue a civil sexual abuse lawsuit against the responsible party. At the Hartley Law Firm, our Dallas sexual abuse lawyer has extensive experience helping survivors pursue meaningful compensation for what they’ve been through. We understand what you are going through as a sexual assault victim, and do everything we can to make the process as easy on you and your family as possible.
Type of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse occurs throughout all parts of society. While some acts of sexual violence are carried out by complete strangers, about 80% of the time, the victim knows the perpetrator. Below are some of the most common types of sexual abuse:
- Nursing home sexual abuse;
- Child sexual abuse;
- Date rape;
- Assaults committed by acquaintances;
- Assaults committed by medical professionals;
- Assaults by family members; and
- Workplace sexual violence.
Regardless of the relationship between a perpetrator and a survivor, victims of sexual assault deserve compensation for what they have been put through.
Common Injuries Following Sexual Assault
More so than other types of assaults, sexual abuse often results in severe physical and emotional trauma. Some of the most common injuries sexual abuse victims experience include:
- Difficulty getting and maintaining a job,
- Loss of faith,
- Loss of trust in authority figures,
- Panic attacks,
- Poor academic and job performance,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder,
- Sexual dysfunction,
- Substance abuse,
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts, and
- Trust and intimacy issues.
These injuries can—and often do—have a long-term effect on a survivor’s life. Successfully pursuing a sexual assault lawsuit is not a windfall for survivors; it merely compensates them for the tremendous impact that the event had on their life.
The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Sexual Assault Cases
When someone reports sexual abuse, law enforcement will almost always conduct an investigation. Often, law enforcement will refer the case to local prosecutors at the end of the investigation, which may result in criminal charges against the perpetrator. If convicted, the perpetrator will likely face jail time. However, because the purpose of a criminal case is to punish a defendant and not to compensate a victim, judges lack the ability to award meaningful compensation to survivors.
However, those who survived sexual violence can also bring a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator. While there are many differences between civil and criminal cases, perhaps the most important involves the necessary burden of proof. In criminal cases, the prosecution must establish the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in civil cases, a plaintiff need only prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a much lower legal standard. Thus, even if a perpetrator was acquitted in a criminal trial, they could still be liable in a civil sexual assault lawsuit.
Those who successfully bring a sexual abuse lawsuit can recover economic and non-economic damages. While damages awards are highly case-specific, they often include compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Lost wages due to an inability to work,
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish, and
- Emotional distress.
At the Hartley Law Firm, our Dallas sexual abuse attorneys painstakingly review all the evidence to identify the full extent of our clients’ damages. That way, they know exactly what to expect throughout the process and what a fair settlement offer looks like. In the event the perpetrator is unwilling to resolve the case out of court, we will not hesitate to take your case to trial.
Speak with a Dallas Sexual Assault Lawyer Confidentially About Your Case Today
If you or a loved one suffered a sexual assault, you are not alone. While bringing a sexual assault lawsuit may not be at the front of your mind, it is important you at least speak with a Dallas sexual assault attorney about the possibility of bringing a case. At the Hartley Law Firm, our compassionate Dallas sexual abuse attorney will sit down with you in a confidential setting to discuss your case. We will answer your questions and offer our sincere advice about your various options. We have significant experience, both at the negotiation table and litigating cases in the courtroom.
If you decide to bring a case against your perpetrator, we will not collect any legal fees unless we can recover compensation on your behalf. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, you can connect with us through our online contact form.
The Hartley Law Firm handles other types of cases as well, including:
- Personal Injury
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