Month: November 2013

Attorney for Victims of Sexual Violence

Sexual violence of any kind can be extremely traumatic and leave victims feeling like they have nowhere to turn. If you are a victim of rape, sexual assault, or other unwanted sexual behavior, you may file suit against your attacker and recover damages in civil court. An attorney for victims of sexual violence at Edwards Pottinger LLC will be your advocate and fight for justice.

Proving sexual violence is never easy, but with the right evidence, you may be able to hold your attacker liable for his actions. Discuss your case with us today: 954-524-2820.

What Is “Sexual Violence?”

Any unwanted sexual act or violence used to force someone into a sexual act can be sexual violence. Sexual violence may occur between spouses, dating partners, strangers, acquaintances, or family members. Some of the most common forms of sexual violence include:

  • Sexual assault or battery (e.g., forcing victim to perform sexual acts with others, unwanted sexual touching, rape)

  • Sexual abuse of people with disabilities, children, and others who cannot legally consent

  • Drug-assisted sexual assault

  • Unwanted sexual experiences not involving contact (e.g., forcing victim to view pornography)

While these forms of sexual violence are all very different, they all have one thing in common: lack of consent. Sexual violence occurs when a victim does not consent (or cannot legally consent) to a sexual activity.

Filing a Civil Suit Against Your Perpetrator

Forcing someone to engage in sexual activity against her will is illegal and will likely result in criminal charges. Once the state has tried and convicted the perpetrator, it often leaves victims to recover on their own.

Edwards Pottinger LLC will not. We will stand by you and help you get justice for the violence you suffered at the hands of your abuser. We can name the assailant and any third parties (e.g., landlords, schools, businesses) that played a role in the incident. For example, we might hold a business liable for providing negligent security.

Filing a civil suit is different than a criminal suit in that we will have to prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the defendant committed the act of violence against you. A preponderance of the evidence basically means that we must prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant attacked and injured you. The burden of the “beyond a reasonable doubt standard” used in criminal law is much tougher to meet.

In most civil cases stemming from sexual violence, the victims will file suit based on an intentional tort such as assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or false imprisonment. Each tort requires you prove certain elements. For example, a large number of lawsuits resulting from sexual violence list battery as a cause of action. Fla. Stat. 794.011 defines sexual battery as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another.” Based on this definition, proving sexual battery requires we show:

  • The defendant intended to commit the act;

  • The defendant touched you sexually against your will; and

  • The defendant caused you actual harm or injury (not necessarily physical)

Aggravated sexual battery would require aggravating circumstances such as threatening the victim with a weapon.

Once our attorneys have determined which causes of action to base your claim on, we will start putting your case together.

What Evidence Do I Need to Prove Sexual Violence?

Proving sexual violence is a challenge. People accused of sexual violence are unlikely to admit to their wrongdoings. So, it is our job to prove it. If you went to the doctor immediately after the incident, that medical report will be essential to proving your case. The doctor should have done a thorough exam and written down details about your injuries.

Photo evidence of these injuries can also be extremely helpful. Witness testimony and further medical records can also establish that the violence did in fact occur and that you suffered harm because of it.

Expert testimony from physicians and mental health professionals can establish harm occurred and discuss the plaintiff’s injuries, treatment validity and future prognosis. An independent psychiatrist can discuss the effects of a sexual trauma in a person’s everyday life and the need for long-term care.

Our attorneys have years of experience collecting evidence, talking to witnesses, questioning experts, and presenting sexual violence cases in court. We will use our legal knowledge and experience to propel your case forward and give you the best chance at recovering damages. The damages you recover will be based on medical expenses incurred, lost wages, emotional trauma experienced, and various other factors.

Call Today for Assistance with Your Sexual Violence Claim

Victims of sexual violence have a long road of recovery ahead of them. Counseling sessions, support from friends and family, and medical treatment can all be beneficial during the recovery process. However, some of these things can be expensive. The last thing a survivor of sexual violence should be worrying about is how to pay medical bills.

The attorneys at Edwards Pottinger LLC are here to help you get the support you need during this difficult time. We have handled numerous sexual assault, harassment, and abuse cases and have recovered thousands of dollars in compensation for our clients. For more information on how we can help support you, call 954-524-2820.