Sadly, statistics indicate that several hundred thousand people are sexually assaulted in the United States every year. Whether an assault involves unwanted sexual touching or rape, survivors of such attacks can be left with ongoing trauma, shame, and guilt—even if they are blameless. Sexual assaults can also lead to physical injuries, some of which may affect victims for the rest of their lives.
If you are the victim of sexual assault, you may be facing both physical and psychological injuries. The physical and emotional wounds sustained in a sexual attack may never fully heal. Your attacker might have to answer to criminal charges, but this won’t financially compensate you for your medical treatment, counseling, emotional scars, and any other ongoing trauma resulting from the assault.
A personal injury lawyer believes that sexual assault victims deserve and are entitled to aggressive legal representation. It’s helpful for many victims of a sexual attack to have a lawyer stand by their side through every step of the process. An attorney can help you fight for the fair and just compensation you so rightfully deserve.
Criminal vs. Civil Sexual Assault Proceedings
When you think of pursuing justice following a sexual assault, you probably first think of a criminal case. If a victim seeks help from a physician, hospital, or law enforcement agency following a sexual assault, those parties will gather evidence of the attack for a criminal case, assuming the assailant is found.
In proving a criminal case, a prosecutor must establish that the person on trial committed the sexual assault beyond any reasonable doubt. If a prosecutor succeeds in that endeavor, or if the defendant pleads guilty, a conviction will be handed down, and the perpetrator will be sentenced to specific penalties. Such penalties can include:
- Being required to register as a sex offender
However, while the victim of a sexual assault may have to testify in the criminal case, a criminal conviction does not provide compensation for they have suffered. Criminal cases are focused on punishing the offender for his or her crimes and protecting others from the same fate as the victim.
Recovering Financial Compensation
Nothing can erase the trauma of a sexual assault. However, financial compensation can help survivors pay for their recovery and possibly find a sense of justice. This type of compensation is available through the civil court system. Survivors of sexual assault must file a civil court case to receive compensation for their numerous losses. Victims may need to seek financial compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of income or earning potential from missed work
- Psychological trauma
- Property damages
- And more
Civil cases may be less challenging to prove than criminal charges since the burden of proof is less severe than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Additionally, personal injury attorneys know that they can use an assailant’s criminal conviction as essential evidence in a civil case.
An experienced and empathetic personal injury lawyer can help to lighten the burden on sexual assault survivors. Legal professionals can strive to navigate the civil personal injury process to a favorable outcome while you focus on your recovery and well-being. Call a personal injury lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT now to schedule a consultation.
Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into personal injury claims and sexual assault.