If you survived a sexual assault in Florida, you may feel as if your life will never be the same. What happened to you was horrific and something no one should ever endure. Although some may say you're a sex crime victim, we consider you a survivor.
Unfortunately, while the police and local law enforcement build a criminal case against your assailant, you may feel cast aside and alone during the process. You may feel uncertain as to where you can turn for help. How will you rebuild your life and move through the emotional trauma you endured?
During this difficult time, you deserve to have someone on your side who can offer you compassionate legal guidance and support. You need a law firm with the experience and resources needed to tackle these delicate and complex cases. While you focus on your recovery and on rebuilding your life after a sexual assault or sexual abuse, trust a Florida sexual assault lawyer at Dolman Law Group to handle your injury case for you.
Florida Sexual Assault Lawyers Helping Survivors
While nothing can erase a traumatic event like sexual violence, financial compensation can help survivors cover their expenses and find a sense of justice. Such compensation may be available through the civil court system. Unfortunately, in addition to participating in the assailant's criminal case, survivors will have to bring legal action in civil court to recover compensation for their many losses.
Those who struggle with physical and psychological injuries after sexual assaults should discuss their legal rights with an injury attorney as soon as possible. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we understand the delicate nature of sex crimes and personal injury matters, and we provide trustworthy, compassionate assistance for all assault survivors. Our client consultations are always confidential.
To learn more about Florida sexual assault laws or child sexual abuse laws, please contact our Florida sexual assault law firm today for a free consultation. When you meet with an experienced sexual abuse attorney at Dolman Law Group, we promise you will be treated with respect and dignity.
We understand that this is a difficult time and the last thing you may want to do is relive the events of your attack. That is why we offer compassionate and completely private consultations with an attorney. You can meet with us at one of our many offices located across Florida, or we can come to you. If you wish to meet virtually, we are happy to do so at any time. Please reach out online or call (727) 451-6900 to schedule a free private consultation with a Florida sexual assault injury lawyer today.
Civil Personal Injury Process vs. Criminal Sexual Assault Proceedings in Florida
Statistics indicate a sad truth in the United States—about 321,500 people are sexually assaulted on an annual basis, which comes out to an average of 880 sex crime victims per day. Whether an assault involved sexual battery or unwanted sexual touching, survivors can be left with feelings of shame and guilt—even though they were blameless. Serious sexual violence can also cause physical injuries to victims, some of which may affect them for the rest of their lives.
When you think of a legal case following a sexual assault, you likely first think of a criminal case. If you seek help from a hospital, doctor, or law enforcement agency following a sexual assault, they will gather evidence of the assault for a criminal case. If your assailant is found, hopefully, they will be arrested, taken off the streets so they cannot harm anyone else, and face criminal charges for sexual assault.
In a criminal case, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant committed the sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt to be found guilty. If a prosecutor succeeds—or if the defendant agrees to plead guilty—the defendant's conviction can lead to certain penalties, including imprisonment, probation, fines, and the requirement to register as a Florida sex offender.
However, while you may have to testify in the criminal case and relive this painful memory, a criminal conviction does little to provide any compensation for the harm you suffered. Instead, criminal cases are focused on punishing the offender and protecting society.
To request compensation for the losses you endured, including pain and suffering, you must file a civil case against your assailant. In a civil injury case, your attorney can seek payment of your legal damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional trauma.
Civil cases require a lower burden of proof than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” To recover compensation for civil sexual abuse cases, the burden of proof is a "preponderance of the evidence," or more probably true than not. In addition, you can use a defendant's sexual crimes conviction as important evidence in your civil case. To ease the burden on sexual assault survivors, our compassionate sexual assault attorneys handle every step of the civil personal injury process so our clients can focus on their recovery.
Injuries and Losses Caused by Sexual Assault in Florida
Sexual assaults in Florida are traumatic under any circumstances. In some situations, survivors are left dealing with physical injuries in addition to emotional trauma. Injuries that can result from such assaults include:
- Abrasions or lacerations
- Sexually-transmitted diseases
- Unwanted pregnancies
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Injuries from the force used to perpetrate the assault
- Injuries from restraints used
These injuries can result in numerous losses—both tangible and intangible. You can seek damages in a civil injury claim for:
- Medical bills for emergency treatment and ongoing treatment
- Costs for terminating a pregnancy if needed
- Costs of pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption, if applicable
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Expenses for psychological or psychiatric treatment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In addition, many sexual assault survivors can obtain punitive damages. This type of compensation is reserved for victims of highly egregious acts—and intentional sexual assault can certainly qualify. It is important to have an attorney handling your claim who can identify all possible damages available under the law.
Your Rights as a Sexually Assaulted Survivor in Florida
There is no specific civil legal action for “sexual assault.” Instead, your lawyer can determine which causes of action are available in your specific case. Examples include:
- Assault and battery
- False imprisonment
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
Furthermore, you may have a claim against a third party that may have some legal responsibility for the assault. Examples include a hotel, hospital, school, or business with inadequate security to prevent the assailant from attacking you. In addition, if an employer failed to screen or supervise employees adequately, you may hold the company liable for negligent hiring or negligent supervision if an employee assaults you in the course of his job.
Identifying any liable third parties—especially companies—can help in sexual assault cases because an assailant may not have the money to compensate you for your losses, especially if they are now incarcerated and unable to work. On the other hand, a company should have assets or insurance coverage to pay for the harm caused by employees and can ensure you receive the full amount you deserve for the harm you suffered.
Again, while money can never turn back time and change what happened, it can help relieve some financial stress from medical bills—and empower you to hold the assailant accountable for their actions.
How a Florida Sexual Assault Lawyer Can Help You
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we understand how difficult it can be to relive your sexual assault throughout the legal process. Even after a criminal case has ended, you still have important legal rights as a sexual assault survivor. Our legal team is sensitive to the unique issues involved in this type of case and handles each matter accordingly.
If you would like to explore your legal options, please do not hesitate to reach out online or call (727) 451-6900 to schedule a free consultation with a Florida sexual assault injury attorney today.