Sexual assault is an egregious crime that often causes not only physical pain but also emotional and psychological harm. While no amount of money can repair the damage caused by sexual assault, financial compensation may allow victims to obtain the treatment that they need and mitigate any financial losses caused by the assault. Thus, many sexual assault victims choose to pursue compensation in a civil lawsuit from the parties responsible for the assault. If you were a victim of a sexual assault, you should speak to a New Hampshire sexual assault lawyer to discuss your potential claims. At Stephen Law Group, we take pride in helping sexual assault victims seek justice for their devastating losses, and we will zealously advocate on your behalf.Elements of a Lawsuit Seeking Damages for Sexual Assault
While many sexual assaults are prosecuted criminally, a criminal conviction may not alleviate the harm suffered by victims of sexual assault. Therefore, victims have the option of seeking financial compensation via a personal injury lawsuit. Compensation recoverable may include the cost of any past and future medical treatment, damages for any wages lost due to an inability to work because of the assault, and damages for the pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused by the sexual assault.
There are numerous claims that a plaintiff in a lawsuit arising out of a sexual assault may be able to assert. For example, a plaintiff may be able to pursue intentional tort claims, like assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Notably, a victim of a sexual assault can pursue civil claims against his or her assailant regardless of the outcome of any criminal charges arising out of the same incident. The evidence produced in a criminal proceeding may be relevant in a civil lawsuit, but the burden of proof is lighter in a civil lawsuit. A plaintiff and a sexual assault attorney in New Hampshire only need to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm, rather than proving it beyond a reasonable doubt.Third-Party Liability
In many instances, sexual assault victims may be able to pursue claims against parties other than the assailant as well. For example, the owner of the property where the assault occurred may be liable in some instances, such as when the assault occurred on a property that had inadequate security or had insufficient lighting, creating an unsafe environment. Claims against a property owner would most likely be based on negligence, which means that the plaintiff would be required to show that the property owner owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the property owner acted in a manner that constituted a breach of the duty, and the sexual assault happened due to the breach. While the breach does not need to be the sole cause of the plaintiff’s harm, it must be a significant factor in contributing to the harm.
If a sexual assault occurred while the assailant was working, a victim and a New Hampshire sexual assault attorney may bring a claim against the assailant’s employer under a theory of vicarious liability as well. This would require showing that the employer knew or should have known of the assailant’s violent propensities, or that he or she posed a risk of harm to other people. Third parties may also be liable for negligent infliction of emotional distress if the plaintiff can show that the third party’s negligence caused the plaintiff to suffer foreseeable emotional harm that was accompanied by physical symptoms.Meet with a Trusted Attorney in New Hampshire or Massachusetts
Sexual assault can have a devastating impact on a person’s life, and victims of sexual assault should be compensated for the trauma that they endured. If you are a sexual assault victim, you should meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. The personal injury lawyers at Stephen Law Group can guide you through the process of seeking to hold accountable the parties responsible for your harm. Our knowledgeable sexual assault lawyers represent people in New Hampshire as well as Massachusetts, and we can be reached at 877-663-1007 or through our form online to set up a consultation.