According to statistics from RAINN, there are approximately 321,500 victims of sexual assault each year in the United States. The vast majority of these individuals are female, and 15 percent are minors. Additionally, college-age women are three times more likely to experience sexual assault, as compared to other women. Still, one out of every six American women has been sexually assaulted. These statistics are staggering. However, unlike victims of other crimes, individuals who have experienced sexual assault may not understand their legal rights. Alternatively, they may be unwilling to inform law enforcement or file a lawsuit.
If you were sexually assaulted, then you have the right to file a civil lawsuit to hold all liable parties accountable for your injuries and losses.
At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., we offer free, confidential consultations so that you can learn your legal options depending on your unique situation. We can help you make your voice heard. Filing a civil lawsuit gives you the opportunity to claim compensation for the physical and emotional trauma you suffered. However, you may also be able to enact change within institutions like colleges and universities, which may help prevent future assaults.
How Do I File a Sexual Assault Lawsuit?
Sexual assault cases often involve criminal charges. However, while the criminal case is often highly publicized, it does not compensate the survivor for her (or his) losses. If you survived an assault, then you have the right to file your own lawsuit for compensation for the harm you suffered, regardless of the outcome of the criminal trial.
In a criminal case, a conviction requires the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, the burden of proof is lower in the civil courts. Therefore, you can file a successful civil lawsuit for sexual assault, even if there is no conviction in the criminal case. Additionally, a civil case may involve parties besides the criminal who committed the assault. For example, you may be able to file a claim against your college for negligent policies that allowed the assault to happen.
Sexual assault claims are among the most difficult and emotional legal actions. Our attorneys understand the courage it takes to step forward as a survivor. Therefore, we offer legal advice freely and always work to support the women and men who come to us with questions. We are here for you as aggressive advocates who will fight to protect your rights and to hold negligent parties accountable for unspeakable crimes.
Who May Be Liable for Sexual Assault?
Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to name multiple defendants in your sexual assault lawsuit. These parties may include the institutions or facilities which were negligent or acted with deliberate indifference and failed to protect you from harmful predators.
- Colleges or schools – College campus sexual assault is not uncommon, and in many cases, you can hold the school liable for the attack. Often, school administrations overlook or purposefully ignore dangerous conditions or negligent policies, which can lead to assault. In extreme situations, schools may even deny a survivor’s account or try to silence women and men who speak out. This is often times seen in after-school activities such as sports associations and clubs.
- Religious institutions –Sexual assault and child sexual abuse are rampant within certain religious institutions, particularly the Catholic Church. The priest and members of the clergy can be held liable for their involvement in your abuse.
- Hospitals or healthcare providers – Sexual assault by doctors may occur in hospitals or private offices. The medical facility may be liable for these attacks.
- Nursing homes – If your elderly loved one is sexually assaulted in a nursing care facility, then the home and/or owners may be legally responsible.
- Employers – Your employer may be liable if you were sexually assaulted at your workplace or in the course of your employment. In these cases, employers often have a history of ignoring complaints of harassment.
- Daycare facilities – Child abuse at a daycare may result from negligent background checks or safety policies.
- Hotels – Poor security can contribute to sexual assaults at hotels and similar businesses, like casinos.
- Other businesses, caregivers or property owners – Institutions, property owners and businesses may be liable for sexual assaults that occur on their premises.
Call a Sexual Assault Lawyer for a Confidential Consultation
If you have questions, then contact a Pennsylvania sexual assault lawyer from our law firm today. We offer compassionate representation to assault survivors and can help you fight to hold negligent institutions accountable. Call (215) 585-2814 or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential consultation.