Can I Sue the Person Who Sexually Assaulted Me?
As the victim of a sexual assault, you have legal rights beyond seeing the person who harmed you being criminally punished. Assault is not just a crime, but it is also a tort, meaning you can sue the person who did it. You would need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who attacked you, and a Ventura and Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer can help.
Filing a Lawsuit Has Become Easier
Not only do you have the ability to sue for sexual assault, but California has made it easier than ever for victims to file suit if the sexual assault occurred when you were an adult or child. If the assault occurred as an adult, you have up to ten years to file a lawsuit. As a rule of thumb, you should always check with an attorney to see if your case still falls within the legal deadline to file the case, called the "statute of limitations".
There are other things to consider in a Santa Barbara sexual abuse lawsuit. As a victim, you should not make the mistake of thinking that the assailant cannot be prosecuted and sued at the same time. The concept of “Double Jeopardy” only applies to multiple criminal prosecutions. It does not take away your right to civil compensation.
You certainly have the ability to sue, but bear in mind that you are filing a lawsuit against an individual person. Sometimes insurance policies may apply and there is more money available to compensate your injuries. Other times, you may just be suing a person who has no insurance and no money to pay for their wrongful act. Thus, you could certainly get a judgment, but it may take some time to collect, and you may get money a little at a time. Unfortunately, sometimes you may never be able to collect.
Many recent sexual abuse lawsuits target an entity that was responsible for the actions of the assailant. An employer, public entity or corporation can be made to pay for any actions of their employees. They have deeper pockets and the money to pay larger verdicts.
Recent Sexual Assault Lawsuit Examples
Here are a few recent examples that come to mind:
- The Church has faced massive lawsuits in the last two decades over the actions of priests dating back for decades. The Los Angeles Diocese has settled many cases holding it responsible for the acts of its clergy.
- Uber and Lyft have been sued when their drivers commit sexual assault. Even though drivers are not strictly employees, the ridesharing companies can be held responsible for sexual assault.
- Universities have also been sued for the actions of their employees. The University of California agreed to a $73 million settlement over repeated sexual assault committed by a UCLA gynecologist.
Filing a lawsuit for sexual assault may be an emotionally difficult experience that requires relieving traumatic memories. You may be asked to testify about the assault. This makes it essential to hire an attorney who can handle your case with the necessary sensitivity.
Contact a Sexual Assault Injury Attorney in Ventura and Santa Barbara Today
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a sexual assault, the Santa Barbara and Ventura injury attorneys at Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC can help you explore the possibility of a civil lawsuit. Call us today at (805) 643-5555 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you as you seek justice for what happened to you.