An injury claim for sexual assault is markedly different from other forms of personal injury claims. Here are some of the unique things about injury claims based on sexual assaults.
You Need to Choose a Legal Theory
To file a civil lawsuit, you need a legal theory (cause of action) on which to base your case. This is necessary because 'sexual abuse' or 'sexual assault' is not a legal theory. For example, you can base your claim on the legal theory of assault and battery, which involves intentional unwanted contact or the threat of unwanted contact that causes the victim some harm. Your lawyer can help you pick the legal theory to use, but rest assured that you are entitled to compensation for your injuries regardless of the theory you use.
High Damages Are Possible
There are several reasons sexual assault cases typically attract high damages. First, sexual assault is a heinous crime that the public abhors. This means many people, both judges and jurors, understand the victims' pain. At the same time, sexual assault often leaves their victims with long-lasting scars, both mental and physical. Lastly, sexual assault is an intentional act, and intentional acts tend to attract punitive damages.
Collection Might Be Difficult
It is unfortunate that even though you may win a large settlement from your sexual assault case, getting your hand on the compensation check might not be easy. This is because sexual assault is an intentional crime, and insurance companies don't cover intentional acts. As such, you have to collect your damages from the defendant's personal assets. Thus, the collection of damages is only possible if the defendant does have assets you can use for the compensation.
Liability May Be Shared
Don't assume that the person who actually assaulted you is the only one liable for your suffering. In some cases, other parties other than the perpetrator may share the liability. For example, if you are sexually assaulted in an institution, the owners or managers of the institution may share the liability with the perpetrator. This may be the case, for example, if the institution knew about the perpetrator's likelihood of committing the crime (maybe they have committed similar crimes in the past) but did nothing to protect you.
Lack of Conviction Is Not a Barrier
Lastly, you should know that you can win your sexual assault case even if the perpetrator has not been convicted by a criminal case. This is because the level of proof required by a criminal court is higher than that required by a civil court. Thus, your proof might be enough for the civil case even if it falls below the requirements of the criminal court.
To learn more, consult with personal injury attorneys like Nicholas B. Hall - Personal Injury Lawyer.