Doctors are some of the most trusted professionals in our society and rightfully so. However, not all physicians behave appropriately with their patients. Some physicians take advantage of their physically and mentally vulnerable patients by sexually assaulting them. If you were sexually assaulted by your doctor, you can hold him or her liable.
Below, we detail what you should do to protect yourself and your right to hold your doctor liable for the abuse you suffered.
What Should I Do If I Was Sexually Assaulted by My Doctor?
Physician sexual abuse claims can range from inappropriate touching of the breasts or genitals to rape. If your physician assaulted you, it is extremely important that you take action as soon as possible after the incident.
Many patients are embarrassed or afraid to contact the authorities. However, you should never be afraid to speak up and report sexual assault. Our team can help protect you.
Here are some steps you should take:
- File a complaint with the hospital or office. If the doctor is a solo practitioner, you might consider skipping this step.
- Call the police.
- Report the assault to the Florida Department of Health.
- See a different medical professional as soon as possible after the incident to treat possible injuries.
- Call RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline to talk to a professional who can help direct you toward therapists trained to handle cases like yours.
- Contact our attorneys to file a civil claim to recover damages from your doctor, hospital, and other liable parties.
Why Should I File a Civil Claim?
If a criminal court convicts a doctor on charges of sexual assault, the doctor may face license revocation or jail time. While this is beneficial for protecting future patients, it may not do much for patients who, like you, have already suffered abuse.
Civil court, on the other hand, allows sexual assault victims to get the justice they deserve. Civil courts focus on making sure victims receive fair compensation for their physical, emotional, and financial suffering.
As your civil attorneys, we will establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that your doctor sexually assaulted you. If we are successful in proving that, you may recover damages for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
We Will Help You Hold Your Doctor Accountable
For you to recover damages after your assault, we will need to file a lawsuit against the doctor responsible for your injuries.
In addition to naming the doctor as a defendant, we will likely name the hospital and any other party whose negligence resulted in your assault. For example, the hospital may be liable for negligent hiring procedures if it failed to properly investigate the doctor’s background before hiring.
Once we have determined who to name as defendants in your case, we will move on to gathering and analyzing the evidence. To have a successful claim, we will need to prove:
Sexual Contact Occurred
This may involve touching, groping, fondling, and forced sex of any kind. In order to prove the assault occurred, we will present medical records to show evidence of sexual attack. If you underwent medical testing or a rape kit after the attack, the DNA results and photos of injuries (e.g., bite marks, cuts, bruises) can help establish the nature of the sexual activity.
You Did Not Consent to Your Doctor’s Actions.
Sexual assault cases rest on whether the victim consented to the sexual activity. Many patients who suffer sexual assault by their doctors are unconscious, under anesthesia, or otherwise incapacitated and are therefore unable to give legal consent. Your doctor may claim the touching was a necessary part of the examination process. However, if you were unable to give consent, they may not examine you.
Our attorneys will gather as much evidence as possible to show that you are a victim of assault. We may use the following evidence to support your claim:
- Medical records to show that you were under the influence of prescribed medications or unconscious at the time of the attack.
- Surveillance footage capturing the attack on camera.
- Medical expert testimony to determine whether the doctor’s behavior constitutes sexual assault.
- Hospital records to indicate the whereabouts of your doctor when the attack occurred.
If your doctor sexually abused you, you are not alone. You have options and a team of advocates waiting to assist you in any way possible. The attorneys at Edwards Pottinger LLC will help you fight for justice. Call us today for a free consultation: 954-524-2820.