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Sexual Assault

Sexual assault attorneys

Many people see sexual assault or abuse as a solely criminal matter, but these wrongful acts may also be classified as “intentional torts,” a type of personal injury claim. In addition to pursuing criminal charges to penalize the perpetrator, a victim may also file a civil case for sexual battery, assault and battery, or intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Typically, civil lawsuits are meant to compensate the victim and his or her family for damages incurred, but in cases of rape or sexual battery, a civil suit may provide victims a sense of justice when criminal prosecution is not pursued, or not successful. One reason is that the burden of proof is lower in civil court; rather than needing proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the plaintiff only needs to persuade the judge or jury that the claim is more likely to be true than not.

Types of Sexual Assault/Abuse Civil Cases

  • Child sexual abuse by clergy, teacher, or leader of an organization
  • Patient sexual abuse by doctor, nurse, staff at a hospital or nursing home
  • Rape and sexual abuse or harassment in the workplace
  • Rape or sexual battery on campus

Statutes of Limitations

In most states, there are statutes of limitations on how long a lawsuit may be filed after an assault.

In terms of civil law, if you were over 18 at the time of the assault, you have two years to file a civil claim in California.

If you were a child when the assault occurred, you may file a claim for civil damages up to eight years after you reach the “age of majority” – so for most people, age 26 – or, within three years of the time you discover that your psychological injury was caused by the sexual abuse, whichever period expires later. (In terms of criminal cases, new California law eliminates the statute of limitations on rape altogether, when the assault took place after January 1, 2017, regardless of the age of the victim.)

All statutes of limitations on sex crimes vary from state to state, so if you are considering filing such a lawsuit, you may want to call an attorney to help clarify your rights.
Sexual injury lawyers

Resources for Victims of Rape or Sexual Abuse

    • RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
    • CALCASA (California Coalition Against Sexual Assault)
    • NSVRC (National Sexual Violence Resource Center)

At TorkLaw, we are committed to helping victims of sexual misconduct find justice. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, assault, or harassment, we will advocate for you and fight for your right to be treated with respect. Call us at 888.845.9696 today for a FREE consultation.