Securing Compensation as a Sexual Assault Victim
Being sexually assaulted is a deeply traumatic experience that can have long-lasting effects on a victim. In addition to the emotional and physical toll the assault takes, sexual assault survivors can suffer various losses as a result. This article explores the types of damages sexual assault victims may be entitled to and what to do if you are a victim of an assault.
If you were sexually assaulted, please remember you have legal rights. At Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner & Davey, P.A., we are here to fight tirelessly on behalf of all assault victims to get them the justice they deserve. Call today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
What Is Considered Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is considered any act that involves unwanted sexual contact or coercion. It can take many forms, including rape, attempted rape, unwanted touching, and verbal harassment of a sexual nature. Other types of sexual assault include molestation, coercion, the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and drug-facilitated sexual assault.
Consent is crucial, and any sexual act without clear, voluntary consent is considered sexual assault.
Can Sexual Assault Victims Seek Compensation?
In addition to any criminal case against the perpetrator, victims also have the right to seek damages in a civil action. If the victim can show they incurred losses as a result of the assault and prove the defendant is liable for those losses, they will likely receive a settlement or reward for damages. In Maryland, the Child Victims Act of 2023 eliminated the statute of limitations for taking legal action after a sexual assault, giving countless victims the right to seek justice.
What Types of Damages Are Available in a Sexual Assault Lawsuit?
The specifics of each sexual assault case are different. Therefore, so are the types and amounts of damages each victim is entitled to.
Some of the types of compensation that may be available include the following:
Also known as “special damages,” economic damages compensate a plaintiff for the out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the assault.
Examples include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
Also known as “general damages,” non-economic damages are not as straightforward as these intangible losses must be assigned a monetary value.
Examples include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are not awarded as compensation but are given as a way to punish the perpetrator for their harmful or egregious actions. They are also used as a means to deter the defendant from acting in the same manner in the future.
Punitive damages also aim to make an example to prevent others from acting similarly. Although these damages might be available to a victim, it is important to note that courts rarely award them.
The Legal Process Following a Sexual Assault
In many cases, victims may be entitled to have their legal fees and court costs covered by the perpetrator. This ensures that sexual assault survivors have access to legal representation without facing an additional financial burden.
Reporting the Assault
Reporting the assault to the police is a crucial first step. Victims should seek medical attention, document what happened during the incident, and preserve any evidence that may be relevant to their case.
Consulting with an Attorney
Seeking legal advice is essential for victims who are considering taking legal action. An experienced personal injury lawyer specializing in sexual assault cases can explain the potential damages that may be pursued and advocate on the victim’s behalf through every step of the legal process.
Filing a Lawsuit
If a victim decides to take legal action, their attorney will help file a lawsuit against the perpetrator or other responsible parties. The legal process involves collecting and presenting evidence, establishing liability, and showing the full extent of the victim’s losses.
Negotiation and Settlement
Parties may sometimes reach an acceptable settlement before going to court. During negotiations, a victim and their lawyer will work to secure a fair and just settlement that compensates the victim for the damages they incurred as a result of the sexual assault.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to court. At trial, both parties will present their cases, and the judge or jury will determine the appropriate compensation based on the evidence presented in the courtroom.Discuss Your Case with a Highly-regarded Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer
Few things are worse than becoming a victim of a sexual assault. Being assaulted can not only cause immediate physical injuries. It can also change your entire life. But remember, you were not in the wrong, and you do have rights.
Our qualified team of personal injury lawyers in Maryland strongly advocates on behalf of all of our clients. We understand the far-reaching devastating consequences you have experienced as a result of the assault and will fight with everything we have to bring the perpetrator to justice. Contact us online or call (410) 685-2022.