A sexual assault lawyer is a valuable resource for assault victims. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys will vigorously fight on behalf of victims of sexual assault.
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Experienced Florida Sexual Assault Injury Lawyers
According to the non-profit RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds. RAINN data shows that nearly 600,000 Americans are sexually assaulted or raped each year, including 60,000 children under the age of 12.
While 9 out of 10 rape victims are female, rape and sexual assault victims can be of any age, race, sex, or gender. Fortunately, sexual assault cases have fallen significantly over the last 20 years: however, sexual assault remains a massive issue, both in the United States and abroad.
If you or someone you love has fallen victim to sexual assault, rape, or other sex-related crimes, you may be eligible for significant compensation. While nothing can reverse the impact of sexual assault, getting compensation can help you or a loved one put their life back together. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help sexual assault victims receive compensation for:
- Physical pain and emotional distress
- Inability to work or a reduction in income
- Injury-related medical bills
- Physical and mental health therapy
In this article, we’ll review exactly what sexual assault injury victims and their loved ones need to know about getting compensation for their injuries by answering questions including:
- What should I do after a sexual assault?
- What are the most common types of sexual assault-related injuries?
- Who is liable for sexual assault injuries?
What Should I Do After a Sexual Assault?
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, you should consider seeking medical attention immediately, either by calling 911 or checking into a hospital. This is particularly important in cases of rape or cases in which the assault has lead to serious bodily injury. If you are able, you will also want to make a detailed police report as quickly as possible. In addition, you should:
- Call an Experienced Attorney: An experienced attorney will help you navigate the entire process, from dealing with insurance companies to keeping track of complex medical and legal records.
- Keep and Record Evidence: If possible, you should attempt to keep and record all evidence of an assault, such as torn clothing or broken jewelry, as well as any phone calls, texts, and recordings that could prove your case. You may also want to take photos of any injuries, such as cuts and bruises, that you sustained during the assault. You will also want to closely document any interactions with medical providers and get copies of all medical records related to your treatment (such as exam records or rape-test-kit results).
- Avoid Signing a Settlement: Insurance providers, hospital employees, or even doctors may attempt to induce you to sign settlement papers directly after an injury. Avoid this at all costs. Insurance companies generally attempt to convince victims to settle for a small amount that will only cover a tiny portion of their injuries.
Avoid Self-Incrimination: Sexual assault cases can have both a criminal and a civil component, each of which may have an effect on the other. Depending on your personal situation, you may or may not wish to press criminal charges in addition to civil ones. If the case is serious, a jurisdiction may decide to press charges with or without your consent. Either way, to achieve a settlement or victorious jury verdict, it will need to be proven that the actions performed by the perpetrator were not consensual. Therefore:
- Don’t Apologize: Unfortunately, many sexual assault victims will apologize for their assault or attempt to blame themselves. This may be particularly common in cases of date rape, spousal rape or sexual assault, or cases involving children or disabled people.
- Don’t Blame Yourself: While some victims may feel to blame for their sexual assault, voicing these feelings can be used by the perpetrator (or the perpetrator’s insurance company) as evidence that the encounter was consensual when it was not.
- Stick to the Facts: Due to the above factors, it’s a good idea to stick to the facts of the case when speaking to law enforcement and insurance companies and to avoid apologizing unnecessarily.
- Don’t Trust Your Insurance Company: You may think that your insurance company only has your best interests in mind. However, insurance companies are often more focused on obtaining profits than helping their policyholders recover after serious injuries. In many cases, your own insurance company will hold your own statements against you if it means making a smaller payout.
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Who is Liable for Sexual Assault Injuries?
In most cases, the perpetrator (and sometimes the perpetrator’s insurance company) is responsible for paying out sexual assault injury claims, whether these are reached as a result of settlement negotiations or a jury trial.
However, in other situations, there may be third parties that can be held liable for damages. For instance, if the sexual assault occurred at a business and the perpetrator was an employee, the business could be held liable for damages. This is especially the case for companies or organizations like daycares, schools, and nursing homes, in which the business and its’ employees owe a “duty of care” to the victim.
In rarer cases, other third parties, such as a commercial landlord or a security company, can also be held liable for failing to prevent (or prevent the conditions that led to) rape or sexual assault.
What Are The Most Common Types of Sexual Assault Related Injuries?
The physical and psychological consequences of sexual assault can include everything from unwanted pregnancies and STIs to anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Some of the most common injuries and issues related to rape and sexual assault include:
- Genital, Oral, and Anal Injuries: If a sexual assault resulted in penetration of the mouth, genitals, or anus, a victim could easily experience injuries in these areas. In the most severe cases, this could lead to serious injuries or even incontinence problems.
- Cuts and Bruises: Generalized cuts and bruises are also a common issue in sexual assault cases, as perpetrators often use physical force to subdue or coerce their victims.
- Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD: Sexual assault, rape, or even severe sexual harassment can lead to a variety of serious mental, emotional, and psychological issues. Depression and anxiety can plague a victim for months or even years after an assault. Panic attacks, phobias, and PTSD can also affect victims in serious assault cases. In many situations, this can significantly impact a victim’s ability to maintain healthy intimate relationships. Sexual assaults can also negatively impact a victim’s ability to work and generate an income to support themselves and their family.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries or Spinal Injuries: In some cases, a rape or assault case can also involve serious violence, such as pushing, striking, or pinning down a victim. This can lead to slip and falls that themselves lead to head injuries. In some instances, this can lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which could lead to cognitive or memory issues. In rarer cases, a slip and fall could lead to a spinal injury, which could lead to partial or total paralysis.
- STIs: STIs (sexually transmitted infections), also referred to as STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are another common result of sexual assault. Experts have identified over 15 common STIs that can easily be transmitted by rape or sexual assault; including herpes, syphilis, hepatitis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and many more.
- HIV/AIDS: While much less common than other STIs, HIV infection can be a rare, yet severe side effect of rape or sexual assault.
- Pregnancy: In rape cases, pregnancy can be a serious possibility. If pregnancy occurs, a victim may wish to obtain an abortion, or they may wish to raise the child. Either choice can be expensive and have a major emotional and or financial impact on the victim’s life. In many cases, if a child is conceived as a result of rape, the rapist will be responsible for paying child support to the victim.
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If You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted, Call Gallagher and Hagopian Today
If you or someone you love has fallen victim to sexual assault, rape, or other sexual crimes, Gallagher and Hagopian can help you get the compensation you deserve. While nothing can truly compensate a victim for the trauma of a sexual assault, obtaining fair compensation can help you get the treatment you need to heal and the funds you need to pay medical bills and other pressing expenses.
As expert personal injury lawyers with decades of experience, we understand the details of sexual assault and rape cases and know exactly how to fight for our client’s rights. Our firm has won over $100 million in compensation for our personal injury clients– and we are ready and waiting to help you today.