South Florida Injury Lawyers Who Put Sex Abuse Survivors in Control
Powerless. That is how most sexual assault survivors describe the experience of being attacked. The perpetrator took away their autonomy. Their ability to be in control of what happens to them. Their freedom.
Unfortunately, this is a feeling that often does not end when the attack does. We live in a society that tends to put those who come forward with stories of sexual attacks through the wringer. Their stories are questioned. Their behaviors are questioned. Their very life choices are questioned.
This is probably why such a low percentage of victims ever come forward and report the incident to the police. Who would want to go through that after enduring the awful experience of being sexually violated?
How are those brave people rewarded for their perseverance? Of those cases that are reported, only a small percentage of alleged perpetrators are arrested, and an even smaller percentage go in front of a prosecutor and face charges.
Thankfully, there is another way to hold those responsible for your attack accountable for their actions. At The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, our experienced and compassionate Florida personal injury attorneys work to help survivors heal and find closure by filing civil sexual assault claims.
What Is a Florida Sexual Assault Claim?
There are essentially two types of legal cases in our country – criminal cases and civil cases.
Most people have an inherent understanding of criminal law. Someone engages in an illegal activity, and they are charged with a crime for their actions. If convicted, they are penalized with consequences that can include fines, jail or prison time, community service, probation, the loss of rights, and more.
When someone reports a sexual assault to the police, the potential legal result of that report is a criminal case. If the police and prosecutor believe there is enough evidence, the alleged perpetrator may be arrested, charged, and convicted for their acts. However, as mentioned above, what often happens in these cases is they end up going free.
Civil cases are different. Instead of going to the police, you bring your story to a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. He or she goes over the facts and will let you know if they believe you have a strong case that is likely to win.
What exactly can you “win”?
That goes into why you should strongly consider filing a sexual assault claim.
Why Should Survivors Think about Filing a Sexual Assault Lawsuit in Florida?
Compensation. Essentially, a sexual assault claim in civil court is a kind of personal injury claim. You make a claim that another’s reckless, negligent, or otherwise improper actions caused you financial damages.
How does this work in sexual assault cases? Even though it may be difficult to think of the “cost” of your experience in terms of money, most survivors suffer all kinds of expenses related to their attack. Hospital or doctor’s bills. Medication. Therapy. Lost wages related to work they had to miss. Pain and suffering. Loss of consortium.
It is easy to lose track of these things while you attempt to recover and get yourself back to some semblance of a normal life, but they can add up quickly. It is not uncommon for victims of sexual attacks to suffer damages in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Winning that amount is not only a way to hold the responsible party or parties accountable, it can soften the financial blow you have endured and serve to get you back on your feet in a trying time.
Justice. In many cases, a civil suit may be the only way to hold an attacker or other responsible party accountable for their actions. The way our legal system is set up, it is far more difficult to get someone convicted in criminal court than it is to defeat them in a civil case.
This is not mere hyperbole either. The burden of proof in criminal cases is reasonable doubt. That means if the judge or jury has even small doubts about the guilt of the person on trial, they are unlikely to convict them. Civil cases, in contrast, have a much lower burden of proof; our lawyers need only to show that a “preponderance of the evidence” (i.e., more than 50 percent) is on your side.
In other words, if it is even slightly more likely that your side of the story is true based on the evidence, you win.
Control. We started this by talking about the powerlessness people often feel in the wake of being sexually violated. You have your control taken away.
In the criminal justice system, this is something that continues. Even if you file a report with police, there is no guarantee anything will ever happen. The prosecutor decides if it is worth pursuing the case. If they do file charges, they decide how involved you are – or not. If, at some point, you want to withdraw the charges, you have no ability to do so. Others are in control from beginning to end.
The opposite is true with a civil case. When you come to our office and consult with one of our attorneys, we can advise you and explain to you what options are available to you, as well as the likelihood you will succeed in your case, but ultimately, you are the one who must choose to file the suit. If you do, a knowledgeable lawyer will work with you to decide who to file suit against, how much to ask for in damages, what strategies to use, and so on. Again, we can advise you, but the final decision is in your hands.
Finally, if you ever just want to stop, that is also your choice.
Start Rebuilding Your Life after a Sexual Assault with the Help of The Injury Law Firm of South Florida
There is no easy or simple way to recover from the trauma of a sexual attack. However, one thing that helps many victims is a sense of control. Concrete actions that can be taken to even the balance of power between you and those who hurt you.
This is what filing a civil sexual assault lawsuit can give you – power and control. Obviously, there is no guarantee that you will win your case, but our lawyers are some of the best in the business. We understand what kind of evidence and argument is most likely to sway the decision in your favor.
See how we can help. Reach out to our office today and set up a free initial consultation. Whether you hope to file suit against your attacker or a negligent third party, such as a school, business, or other organization, your actions may bring about changes that not only improve your own life, but also prevent others from suffering the same fate.
If you or a loved one is sexually attacked, it can be incredibly hard to get back to your “normal” life. You might feel lost. Adrift. Powerless. Guilty. Ashamed. One way to take back control and hold the responsible parties accountable for what happened is to file a civil sexual assault claim. The criminal justice system has a horrible track record when it comes to punishing sexual offenders, and it can’t really account for other negligent actions that may have led to the attack. Civil court puts you in the driver’s seat and can help you get compensation you need to recover.