A poignant letter written by the victim drew more attention in the media, including social media, to her plight. If you or someone you know is a victim whom the criminal courts let down, what other options do you have?
Filing a Civil Lawsuit in a Sexual Assault Case
A personal injury lawsuit, or civil suit, against the perpetrator of sexual assault or rape won't result in a jail term. But it can result in a monetary reward that covers medical expenses, counseling and a small part of the mental suffering that the victim has endured.
Many victims also file claims against third parties, such as the employer of the rapist if the attack happened during the work day or the owner of the building where the attack took place.
A civil suit typically requires a lesser standard of proof than a criminal case, so if there is a "preponderance of evidence" -- in other words, it seems likely that the attack happened -- then you can file a suit for damages.
What are the Pros and Cons of Filing a Civil Suit?
The benefits of filing a lawsuit could include the following.
- For many sexual assault or rape victims, the chance to have the perpetrator
acknowledgeor be found responsible for their attack can be an important part of the healing process. A 2012 study by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network based on Department of Justice records found that only three of every 100 rapists will serve jail time for their crime. A successful civil suit ensures the plaintiff will have some punishment for their actions.
- Having some financial resources that pay for medical bills, including ongoing therapy, can help many victims to get the help they need and not have to bear the entire brunt of the costs.
- Many victims have trouble working after their attacks, so financial payment can give them stability as they heal.
There are some drawbacks to consider, as well.
- Victims may have to release more personal information in a civil suit, including health records and sexual history. This can feel invasive.
rapeand sexual assault perpetrators have no assets that can pay a financial settlement.
However, for many victims, the pros outweigh the potential negatives. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, contact a personal injury lawyer for more information about whether filing a lawsuit is a good option for you. To find out more, speak with someone like Richard Glazer Law Office.