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Sexual Assault Lawsuits

Sexual assault is a serious crime in California and anyone convicted of it can face long prison sentences as well as high fines. However, victims can also claim compensation for sexual assault through civil lawsuits. This compensation can often help victims move on with their lives and more importantly, hold liable parties responsible.

Sexual assault lawsuits are often more difficult than other types of lawsuits. While physical injuries sometimes accompany this crime, more often it is the emotional weight of the incident that plagues sexual assault victims for the rest of their lives. Anyone wishing to file a sexual assault lawsuit against clergy, doctors, teachers, family members, or anyone else should speak with a personal injury attorney who can help them through the entire process.

Plaintiffs in a Sexual Assault Case

It makes sense that anyone who was a victim of sexual assault can file a lawsuit and act as plaintiff for this type of civil action. However, others can also file a lawsuit in a sexual assault case.

If someone such as a parent witnessed the assault, they can also file a lawsuit due to the emotional distress the perpetrator inflicted on them. In other cases, when the sexual assault caused a loss of companionship, moral support, or other loss of consortium, the spouse or other registered domestic partner of the victim can also file a sexual assault lawsuit.

In the event that the assault was so severe it resulted in the victim’s death, the victim’s family members or heirs may also file a civil lawsuit in regards to the sexual assault and resulting wrongful death.

Criminal Charges are Not Necessary

Often, sexual assault victims do not wish to report the crime to law enforcement. This is for a number of reasons, but one of the main ones is that they fear the authorities will not believe them. Sometimes, law enforcement does believe the victim, but the attorney for the prosecution determines there is not enough evidence to pursue the case. In other cases, the statute of limitations may have already passed and so, a court may dismiss the case before it goes to trial.

The good news for victims is that criminal charges are not necessary in order to file a civil lawsuit for sexual assault. The victim does not even have to file a police report. In civil lawsuits, it is largely the victim who controls the direction the lawsuit takes. If the victim wishes to take the case all the way to trial, he or she may do so. However, if the victim wishes to settle out of court, he or she can do this also.

Statute of Limitations in Sexual Assault Civil Cases

Like most personal injury lawsuits in California, if the sexual assault occurred when a person was an adult, he or she has two years from the date the assault occurred to file a lawsuit. The only exception to this is in the case of a sexual assault criminal case that results in the defendant being prosecuted on felony charges. In these cases, adult victims have one year from the date of judgement to file their lawsuit.

In a sexual assault case in which the victim was a child when the assault occurred, the victim may file a lawsuit until the victim’s 26th birthday, or three years from the date the victim discovers they suffered psychological injury or illness that occurred after the victim turned 18. The later of these two dates will serve as the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases that involve child victims.

Contact Compassionate Personal Injury Attorneys in California for Help with Your Case

If you have been the victim of sexual assault, know that you do not have to go through this alone. Even if you do not wish to press criminal charges, or you no longer can, you still have options for compensation, and a California personal injury lawyer can help.

At Willoughby Brod, LLP, we want to help survivors hold liable parties responsible and make them pay for what they have done. A person will typically suffer with mental anguish and emotional distress for years after a sexual assault incident, and there is compensation available that can help pay for expenses associated with this trauma. If you want help with your sexual assault case, contact us at (800) 427-7020 for your free consultation to learn about the many options you still have.

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