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FAQs About Sexual Assault Civil Claims

Manchester Lawyers Aiding Victims of Sexual Assault in the Pursuit of Damages

Sexual assault is, unfortunately, a common occurrence, and it is often committed by people entrusted with the care of vulnerable individuals. While the criminal justice system provides processes for holding assailants criminally responsible, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine law allows victims to pursue civil claims against their attackers as well. As such, it is important for victims to understand their rights, and they should speak to an attorney regarding frequently asked questions about sexual assault civil claims. The assertive Manchester personal injury attorneys of Stephen Law Group understand the devastating losses sexual assault can cause, and if you engage our services, we will fight to help you seek justice for your harm. We regularly represent victims of sexual assault in civil lawsuits in Manchester as well as in other cities in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine.

What are sexual assault civil claims?

In Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, sexual assault civil claims are lawsuits that pursue compensation for the harm suffered by the victim. Generally, such lawsuits assert claims against the person who committed the assault, but they can also include claims against parties that negligently allowed the assault to occur, such as the owner of the property where the attack happened and the assailant’s employer. The damages recoverable in such cases can include medical expenses, including the cost of therapy, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses, as well as compensation for mental and emotional distress, suffering, and pain. Punitive damages may be recoverable in some cases as well.

Do I need to report the assault to the police before filing a civil lawsuit?

While reporting a sexual assault to the police is encouraged, it’s not always a requirement for filing a civil lawsuit in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Maine. However, victims should consult with an attorney to understand their legal options and any potential implications of reporting or not reporting the assault.

How long do I have to file a civil lawsuit for sexual assault?

The statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit for sexual assault differs by state. New Hampshire law provides an extended period of time for victims of sexual assault to pursue civil claims. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for pursuing civil claims arising out of sexual assault differs for adult and child victims. In Maine, what statute of limitations applies depends, in part, on the age of the victim when the assault occurred; people who were minors at the time of the attack have an extended time to seek damages from their assailant. It is important for anyone considering pursuing such claims to contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect their rights to pursue claims.

Can I file a lawsuit if the perpetrator was acquitted in criminal court?

In New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine, a plaintiff can pursue a civil lawsuit regardless of the criminal case’s outcome. The burden of proof is lower in civil cases, which means the victim may be able to successfully establish the perpetrator’s liability despite the lack of a conviction. Specifically, establishing the prosecution’s burden of proof in a criminal case is to offer evidence that establishes the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, while in a civil case, the plaintiff only has to show the defendant’s fault by a preponderance of the evidence, which means it is more likely than not that the defendant is liable.

Will my identity be protected in a civil lawsuit?

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine allow plaintiffs to proceed under a pseudonym or seal court records to protect their identities during legal proceedings under certain circumstances. The right to do so is not guaranteed, however.

How long will the legal process take?

The timeline for sexual assault civil lawsuits can vary depending on factors such as court backlog, settlement negotiations, and trial proceedings in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. In many instances, though, the defendant will want to settle the case rather than risk proceeding to trial.

Consult an Experienced New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorney

Sexual assault can cause substantial and lasting emotional and physical harm that impacts every aspect of victims’ lives. While money alone cannot mend the losses assault victims suffer, it can help them take the measures necessary to move forward with their lives. If you would like answers to some of the frequently asked questions about sexual assault civil claims, it is smart to consult an attorney. The experienced Manchester personal injury attorneys of Stephen Law Group can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your harm and offer you advice regarding your potential claims. We routinely represent people in sexual assault civil claims in Manchester as well as in other cities in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. We have multiple offices located in Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire; North Andover and Methuen, Massachusetts; and Saco, Maine. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 877-663-1007 to set up a conference.

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