If you have been the victim of sexual assault you are not alone. Half of all women, and 15 percent of all men, will be the victim of sexual assault at some point in their lives. There are more than 8 million sexual assault survivors and 2 million rape survivors just in the state of California. The state extends certain rights to sexual assault victims. Not only can you press criminal charges against your abuser, but you can also seek monetary damages.
At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, we understand that a sexual assault can have immediate and long-lasting consequences. You are not only at risk of suffering extreme emotional trauma, but physical harm, as well. The financial costs of your sexual assault can become too much to handle on your own. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against your abuser can help you recover the money you need after a sexual assault. Contact our San Diego sexual assault injury attorney to schedule your free consultation and learn more.
Defining Sexual Assault
What is sexual assault? Which behaviors can result in civil liability? In California, sexual assault is a broad term that is used to identify a wide range of sexual behaviors. Sexual assault can include:
- Unwanted touching
- Offensive touching
- Domestic sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
- Child sexual abuse
- Penetration with a foreign object
- Oral copulation
- Sexual threats
- Sexual intimidation, or
In truth, any non-consensual sexual activity can be considered sexual assault in California.
Proving Your Claim of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is not just a crime in California. It is also what is known as an intentional tort. When you are the victim of a tortious act, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the person who hurt you. In order to win your case, you must be able to prove each element of the offense. In a sexual assault case, you must prove:
- The defendant intended to cause harmful or offensive sexual contact with you;
- You did not consent to the sexual contact;
- Harmful or offensive sexual contact occurred; and
- You were injured in some way.
Harmful or Offensive
Sexual assault occurs when another person intentionally touches you in a harmful or offensive way. Harmful contact causes a physical injury. Offensive contact is defined to mean anything that offends your personal sense of dignity. If you have been touched against your will in a sexual way or in an intimate place on your body, contact will likely be offensive.
Consent means that you understand the consequences of an act and willingly agree to participate or allow the behavior. Sexual assault must involve harmful or offensive contact to which you did not consent. It’s important to note that consent does not necessarily last forever once it has been given. You even have the right to withdraw consent if it was previously extended.
Contact can be direct or indirect. This means that the abuser could have touched you with their own hands or used an object to inflict the harmful or offensive touching.
Damages Available to Sexual Assault Victims
Sexual assault can have devastating consequences throughout your life for years to come. It can inflict physical injury, cause you to suffer from debilitating mental health issues, and affect your future relationships. While money will not erase the fact that you have experienced sexual assault, it can help you cope with the consequences.
At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC we will carefully investigate your case and identify all damages to which you may be entitled. We will aggressively pursue compensation from your abuser for:
- Medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Disability and/or reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Contact our compassionate legal team today to schedule a free consultation. We will review the details of your case and help you identify your legal options. Our goal is to protect your rights and help you recover the money you need and deserve. Do not hesitate to call for help today.
Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault Cases
You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit if you have been the victim of sexual assault in California. However, there is a limited period of time in which you can file your claim. Most sexual assault cases must be initiated within two years of the date of your assault. You could be prevented from getting the money you need if you don’t file your claim before the statute of limitations expires.
There are certain times when the statute of limitations can be extended. You may be able to file your claim more than two years after the sexual assault if:
- You were a minor at the time of the attack
- You cannot locate the defendant
- The defendant is unavailable because they have been incarcerated, or
- There was a reasonable delay in the diagnosis or identification of an injury.
You may also have additional time to file a claim if your attacker is charged with a felony and convicted. You’ll have one year from the date of the guilty judgment to file your personal injury lawsuit.
Working with an experienced San Diego sexual assault lawyer will help to ensure that your claim is filed on time. Call Injury Trial Lawyers today to get started on your sexual assault injury case.
How a Criminal Case May Affect Your Personal Injury Claim
Sexual assault is a crime in California. It is very possible that your attacker faces criminal charges for the sexual assault you experienced. It is possible for criminal charges to affect your personal injury claim. Here’s how:
- Civil proceedings can be suspended temporarily while a criminal matter is tried. You must still file your personal injury claim within the applicable statute of limitations.
- The outcome of the criminal case will not directly impact a separate civil case. However, a guilty plea or conviction can be used as evidence to support your argument. At the same time, a finding of not guilty does not mean that your civil case cannot be successful.
- Evidence generated through criminal proceedings can help or hurt your case.
Do you want to learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit after a sexual assault? Contact our attorneys to schedule a free case assessment.
Speak with our San Diego Sexual Assault Injury Attorney
Have you been the victim of sexual assault in San Diego? Do you want to hold your attacker personally responsible for the harm you’ve suffered? Contact our San Diego sexual assault injury attorney to learn about the benefits of filing a personal injury lawsuit. You have the right to demand compensation from your attacker, and we can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation.