Suffering a sexual assault is one of the most horrifying events anyone can experience. Many victims want to not only see their attacker face the most severe criminal penalty possible, they also decide they want to pursue civil action in the form of a lawsuit. If this has happened to you, and you want to seek financial compensation for a sexual assault, there are a few things you can do.
This article will provide some information on the steps you can take in order to make sure your rights are fully protected, and to help you get what you deserve. The attorneys with Sand Law will be here for you, and will be ready to assist in any way we can. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, please give us a call at 651-291-7263 or contact us online.
Get to a Safe Place
A sexual assault is a terrible form of trauma. Oftentimes, victims will be in shock, and have a sense of feeling overwhelmed, with no idea of what to do. The first thing you should try to do is to go somewhere where you feel safe and welcomed. It could be a friend’s or neighbor’s house, or it could be a family member’s home. It could be your own home. If that’s the case, see if someone you love and trust can come by and stay with you.
Whatever your safe place may be, try to get there as fast as you can. Doing so will not only help you feel safer, it could also help you regain a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible.
Go to the Hospital for Immediate Medical Care
It will also be important that you go to the nearest medical facility as soon as possible. You could have suffered an injury that’s not immediately apparent, or you could be at risk for a sexually transmitted infection. A nurse or doctor can give you a thorough examination, preserving evidence in what is commonly known as a “rape kit”.
It’s important that you know you will likely be asked some relatively difficult questions. These could potentially include the following:
- Have you ever had sex with the person who attacked you voluntarily?
- Did you have any sexual activity in the previous five days?
- Are you using birth control?
These questions will not be designed to imply that you were in any way responsible for the assault – you weren’t. It was not your fault. But they need to be asked in order for your medical professionals to provide you with the best care possible.
Getting medical help is, of course, critical for the victim’s immediate safety. However, it will also document personal injury damages that can be recovered as compensation in the sexual assault civil lawsuit. It will provide the evidence needed to not only show you suffered an assault, but it could also show exactly who perpetrated the crime.
Report to a Local Police Department
There are many survivors of a sexual attack that don’t want to get the police involved. They might have known the assailant – that person could be a friend of the family, or possibly even a member of the family. The anxiety and fear of making a police report could be too much for some victims to take.
Others are understandably hesitant because some police departments will ignore these types of cases. Some will even go so far as to throw out rape kits.
As terrifying as it may be to relive your trauma through filing a police report, doing so could have a profound impact on any legal action you may want to pursue. A police report provides strong evidence of the details of the sexual assault, which will be needed when seeking compensation. It will also help give you back the power that the perpetrator tried to take away from you.
File for an Immediate Civil Protection Order
This is another way to help ensure your safety. You can file a temporary protection order if you can show a judge proof that you are in immediate danger of further violence. This will last until a hearing for a permanent order can be held. This usually takes place within two weeks of the temporary order.
The attorneys with Sand Law have a great deal of experience in these kinds of cases. We can tell you much more about the process of filing a protection order, and also tell you about what to expect during the process.
Go to a Women’s Health Center for Testing, Counseling, and More
As traumatic as a sexual assault is, there are lots of resources you can turn to in order to get the emotional support you need. A local women’s health center can be an advocate on your behalf, explaining all of your options regarding what to do next. They will be there to talk with you, or just to be with you during this incredibly difficult time.
Contact a Sexual Assault Hotline
You can also call a rape crisis hotline for further support. Many of these hotlines are available 24 hours a day, so you can call at any time to talk about whatever is on your mind. You might want more information on your options, or you just might want to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through.
Speak with a Sexual Assault Attorney if You Wish to Seek Civil Justice
A Sand Law sexual assault attorney is standing by to give you a clear understanding of how you can pursue justice. Not only is sexual assault a crime punishable by significant jail time, of course, it can also be grounds for a civil lawsuit.
You can still file a personal injury lawsuit even if the defendant is not convicted of the crime – or not charged with a crime in the first place. You may be able to recover compensation for personal injury damages you suffered due to the sexual assault. These damages include medical expenses, counseling, lost wages, future lost earning capacity, and many, many others.
Please get in touch with our law firm as soon as you can so we can tell you more about how we may be of assistance. You can use our online form, or you can call 651-291-7263.