If you were raped, you might feel alone and totally helpless. You may be wondering if there is a way to ever feel safe and to keep your rapist from doing this to you or anyone else again. There is. Filing a lawsuit against the party(s) responsible for your assault can help you find justice and hopefully keep your attacker from repeating his crimes.
With our knowledgeable attorneys on your side, we can take action against your attacker and other liable parties and help you recover compensation for the losses you suffered in the assault. Call Edwards Pottinger LLC to discuss your case today: 954-524-2820.
Why Do I Need to File a Claim If the State Charged My Attacker?
Sexual assault is a crime in all states, but that does not mean that rape victims will recover damages in criminal court. Generally, criminal courts are more concerned with putting sexual predators behind bars than they are with compensating rape victims.
Criminal prosecutors file criminal charges against the attacker and use victim testimony and other evidence to prove the attacker’s guilt. In some cases, the court may award restitution to cover some of the victim’s rape-related medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs.
However, in most cases, for a rape victim to recover damages for her injuries, we must file a civil claim against the assailant and any other parties liable for the assault.
How to Bring a Rape Claim in Civil Court
If you have survived a sexual assault, you may be experiencing various physical ailments as well as emotional injuries including depression, sleeping disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Dealing with these medical issues may require you to miss work to undergo expensive surgeries, medical treatments, and therapy. Our team can seek damages to cover your medical expenses, psychological treatment, and lost wages.
Before we agree to manage your claim, we will have to evaluate the facts of the case. We will need to ask you detailed questions about the incident. While it may be painful for you to relive the attack, it is important that we get the full story from you before we proceed. We will do whatever we can to make it easier for you; we know what a traumatic experience a rape can be and do not want to cause any more harm. We may need:
- A detailed account of the events leading up to the attack
- Information about your relationship with your attacker
- Information regarding consent (e.g., did you say no, when did you say no)
- Medical records detailing any and all physical and emotional injuries after the attack
Who Can I Hold Liable for My Assault?
In addition to the actual attacker, we may also bring claims against any parties whose negligence created environments that made it easier for the sexual assault to occur.
Property owners, for instance, have a responsibility to maintain reasonably safe conditions on the property for invitees and social guests. If a person is raped due to poor lighting and lack of competent security guards and doctors on site, the property owner may be liable for the rape victim’s damages.
Business owners may be liable for negligent hiring (i.e., failing to properly vet the people they hire).
How Can We Prove Rape Occurred?
In order to file a successful claim for damages in civil court, we will need to prove:
- Sexual activity occurred with the defendant.
- You did not consent to the sexual activity on the night in question or were legally unable to consent.
The most challenging part of a rape case is proving the attacker did not have consent. Many rape claims turn into “he said, she said” cases that can be difficult to prove and often put the victim through the wringer. We will do anything in our power to protect you from this.
If you did not explicitly say no, we will work to prove you were unable to consent. Victims are physically unable to give consent if they are asleep, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unconscious, or otherwise incapacitated. Under the law, minors and some mentally challenged individuals cannot legally consent to sexual activity.
Your testimony regarding the attack is essential to proving you did not consent to the sexual contact that occurred. However, it will likely not be enough to win your case, especially if your attacker denies the rape ever happened.
Our attorneys will collect additional evidence to show the court that you did not consent to sexual activity or that you were unable to consent due to your physical/mental state at the time of the attack. We may:
- Ask you to take the stand and explain your relationship with the attacker (if you had one) and what happened on the day of the incident. If you do not feel comfortable facing your attacker, we can record a deposition at our office instead of having you testify in court.
- Call eyewitnesses who may have seen the attack or saw you with your attacker on the night of the attack to testify in court.
- Enter photos, surveillance footage, video, or other proof of the attack into evidence.
- Enter the police report into evidence and call on the investigating officer to testify as to what she saw.
- Present your medical records to show the injuries you suffered in the attack.
- Present the results of your rape kit.
- Call medical experts to the stand to testify regarding whether a sexual assault likely caused your injuries. They can also discuss the severity of your injuries and the long-term physical and mental effects of the attack.
Our Attorneys Fight for Justice for Fort Lauderdale Rape Victims
If you are a rape victim, you can count on Edwards Pottinger LLC for quality, compassionate representation during this difficult time in your life. By filing a lawsuit against your attacker and any negligent parties, we can help you recover damages to help you move forward from this traumatic event. Call 954-524-2820 to speak to a civil litigation attorney about your claim. Let us be your path to justice®.