Question: I want to file a sexual assault lawsuit. What can I receive if I am successful?
Answer: Victims of sex assault and abuse who file civil lawsuits can receive financial compensation if they succeed in proving their cases. This includes proving liability (fault) and the extent of the damages. There are two issues that typically arise in a sex assault or abuse lawsuit. First, who are the potentially liable parties? Second, what’s the realistic chance of actually receiving financial compensation?
Liability of Other Parties (Non-Perpetrators)
In the civil justice system, any party can be held liable for negligence (or intentional conduct) that causes injury to another. Here’s a simple example: a driver speeding through a red light can be held liable for a resulting car accident. Similarly, in sex assault or abuse cases, any person or entity can be held liable for failing to do something or doing something wrongful that results in sexual assault or abuse.
The key in proving liability is foreseeability. The victim must be able to establish that the other party either did foresee or should have foreseen that action or inaction would lead to the assault or abuse. For example, a patient is sexually assaulted by a physical therapist at a medical office with multiple locations. The therapist was previously written up for prior complaints of sexual contact with patients at a previous location. The medical office failed to adhere to its own internal policy of reporting sexual contact to the state licensing board. This occurred prior to the most recent sexual assault.
This example shows that the medical office failed to follow its own policy, and it should have foreseen that failure to do so would put future patients at risk. Therefore, the medical office would be held liable, in addition to the perpetrator.
Chances of Receiving Financial Compensation
Victims of sex assault or abuse have the legal right to seek monetary compensation from every party whose conduct led to the acts of assault or abuse. This includes the direct, criminal perpetrator, as well as indirect parties, such as an employer, school, church, etc. These other parties often have the financial resources to pay a financial sum to the victim. Oftentimes, these types of indirect parties are covered under an insurance policy that covers negligent conduct leading to assault or abuse. This means that a victim could receive payment via a commercial policy.
For instance, a private school is liable for failing to prevent sex assault by a teacher who had previously been reported for sexual contact with students. The school’s negligence is covered under a liability policy with coverage limits of up to $1,000,000. Therefore, the victim may be able to receive compensation via the policy, up to $1,000,000.
Sexual Assault & Abuse Lawyers for Victims – FREE CONSULTATION
Get a free consultation with our sex assault and abuse victims’ lawyers. The Pennsylvania and New Jersey law firm of Laffey, Bucci & Kent represents victims in civil lawsuits. Firm founder Brian Kent has filed dozens of civil sex assault or abuse lawsuits against churches, schools, medical facilities and private individuals. Call for a free consultation at 215.399.9255.
DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. It is crucial to speak to a qualified lawyer prior to making any decision about your case. Read full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.