April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As we raise awareness about this violent crime and work to reduce the number of assaults that happen, it’s important to discuss the legal options available to survivors of assault.
Survivors of sexual assault have two main avenues legally:
- Criminal charges
- Civil claims
When reporting the crime to police, survivors may decide to press charges. The police may pursue criminal charges against the perpetrator, who may need to face a trial and even jail time.
Another option survivors have is to work with a personal injury attorney in Cooper City to file a legal claim. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal trial and regardless of whether criminal charges are ever filed against the abuser, a civil claim can proceed.
Why Pursue a Claim?
Surviving a sexual assault is challenging and facing a legal claim can seem daunting. Nevertheless, there are many reasons why survivors choose to file a personal injury claim:
- The perpetrator may never be caught. In cases where the criminal is not caught or identified, a civil claim still allows the survivor to pursue all liable parties, which can include the property owner who was negligent in creating a safe space, for example.
- The perpetrator may never face justice. Only about 6% of sexual assault perpetrators ever get jail time, and this can be difficult for someone who has suffered.
- It helps with injury costs. After a sexual assault, a survivor may need counseling, emergency care, follow-up treatment, and medical treatment. They may need to miss time at work and may face additional costs and losses, too. A civil claim allows a survivor to seek compensation for these damages, so they have the financial resources to heal.
- It can help protect others. By holding all liable parties accountable, a civil claim can create important safety changes which can prevent other assaults. For example, if the assault was caused in part because a property owner had poorly lit walking areas, a civil claim can create a safer walking area for others.
- It can create a sense of closure. Too few survivors get justice or even their day in court. A civil claim can allow survivors to advocate to make changes, and this can be an important part of the healing process.
How to Pursue a Claim in Cooper City
To pursue a personal injury claim, you need to be able to prove your injuries were caused by someone’s negligence and your injuries must have occurred within the statute of limitations (in Florida, that is two to four years for most cases). You might also want to work with an experienced attorney who can build a strong case for you.
If you would like to know whether you might have a claim, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation. Our legal team has more than 60 years of experience and we have recovered over $100 million for injured people through court wins and settlements. We have extensive insurance industry experience and trial experience, so may be able to represent you whether you are having trouble with an insurer who is not honoring your policy after an assault, not allowing you to seek proper medical care, or whether you would like to pursue a claim.