Call For A Consultation (202) 644-8303
Our Blogs

Sexual Assault & Abuse Civil Lawsuits: What Victims Need to Know

Sexual misconduct has become a prominent topic, with news stories featuring high profile claims of harassment, assault, abuse, and other inappropriate conduct on a nearly daily basis. While many of these claims involve individuals of important stature or fame, it is important to remember that sexual assault and abuse is not limited to those in the spotlight. It can and does happen to all types of people throughout the country, and often goes unreported. Although there are many reasons why victims and survivors keep silent, it must be remembered that they are never without rights.

At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our legal team represents victims of sexual assault and abuse when they wish to take legal action. Not only are we passionate about providing the support and representation needed in their fight for justice and compensation, we are also committed to making their voices heard, raising awareness, and helping prevent similar misconduct from harming others.

4 Facts About Sexual Assault and Abuse Lawsuits

Victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse have legal rights. This includes the right to take legal action in civil court against the wrongdoer and / or other parties responsible for their harm and suffering. Although every case is different, it is important for victims to understand their rights, the steps they can take to assert them, and how civil sexual assault and abuse lawsuits work:

  1. Civil lawsuits provide compensation – Some cases of sexual assault or abuse may result in criminal charges against a perpetrator. Although a wrongdoer may face penalties when convicted of those charges, criminal cases are not a source of compensation for victims. This is why victims seek lawsuits in civil court, where they have an opportunity to recover financial compensation for their damages, including their pain and suffering, financial losses, and emotional injuries.
  2. Civil and criminal cases are separate – If a perpetrator is being prosecuted in criminal court, that case is conducted separately from any civil proceeding. Not only do criminal cases concern only criminal guilt (and not financial liability for a victims’ damages), they also use a higher burden of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt) than what is used in the civil justice system (preponderance of the evidence, or “more likely than not”). This means that even if a perpetrator avoids a conviction or charges altogether, they can still be held accountable in civil court.
  3. Other defendants can be named – Although sexual assault and abuse lawsuits can be filed against the perpetrator themselves, they often name additional defendants whose failures or negligence contributed to a victims’ damages. This may involve premises liability and sexual assaults committed on another’s property, especially if the property owner failed to provide adequate security and take reasonable measures to protect guests or residents, including residents of hotels or residential complexes. It may also involve victims who were assaulted or abused by individuals employed by an institution or organization that negligently employed or retained the wrongdoer. These cases commonly involve schools, youth groups, athletic organizations, nursing homes, and others who failed to adequately screen employees, handle complaints, or take appropriate action to prevent a victim’s assault.
  4. Report assault and abuse – Reporting sexual assault and abuse can be an important first step in protecting yourself and your rights, as it can initiate an investigation, allow for testing, and help victims receive the treatment they need. While timely reporting to both authorities and responsible parties within an organization where the misconduct occurred is encouraged, we know there are many factors that can make it difficult for victims and survivors to come forward, as well as many factors that prevent reports from being properly handled. As such, our attorneys are available to help victims and families when they wish to take action.

Civil lawsuits filed over sexual assault and abuse can be difficult and emotionally troubling for victims, survivors, and their families – but they can be handled effectively by attorneys who have proven experience in these cases. Over the years, our Washington, DC sexual assault and abuse lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have helped many clients navigate their legal journeys following assault, abuse, and sexual misconduct. We are readily available are prepared to help you take the next steps. Learn more about your rights and how we can help when you contact us for a free and confidential consultation