Sexual Assault and Abuse VictimThe abuse happened years ago when you were a child. Or perhaps there was not enough evidence to arrest your attacker. Or maybe your rapist was convicted and is in jail. Whatever the circumstances of your sexual assault are, you are left feeling like justice has not been done. In many of these cases, it is still possible to bring civil litigation against the abuser to restore some of what you have lost and possibly give you a sense of closure. If you were victimized by a sexual predator, contact The Blankenship Law Firm to find out if you might have a civil case to hold the abuser accountable.

Civil Litigation Brings Justice for Sexual Assault Victims

Sexual offenses are crimes that are punishable by prison time, fines, and registration as a sex offender. However, these punishments don’t restore what has been taken from the victim. There are a number of circumstances that could warrant a sexual assault civil lawsuit, even if your attacker has been criminally tried and convicted. Examples include the following:

  • Childhood sexual abuse. Adults who were abused as children in church, school, scout troops, or athletic teams can often pursue civil litigation against their abuser even decades later.
  • Workplace sexual assault. When sexual harassment at work escalates to the point of assault, it might be difficult to prove a criminal case. However, the abuser can be held accountable in a civil lawsuit.
  • Institutional sexual assault. Elderly people in nursing homes or disabled people in rehabilitation centers often don’t have a voice when they are sexually abused. Their abusers can be pursued with civil litigation.
  • Stranger or acquaintance rape. Rape cases have a high burden of proof. Prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the assault occurred and that the sex act was not consensual. However, victims can often also pursue a civil case with a lower burden of proof.

In Washington, victims of sexual assault have three years from the date the injury is recognized to file a lawsuit. In cases involving childhood abuse, it could take many years to recognize the injury, so you could have decades to file suit. Contact The Blankenship Law Firm to discuss your situation with a lawyer.

What You Could Be Awarded in a Sexual Assault Civil Case

A civil lawsuit aims to hold the responsible parties accountable and provide compensation for the damages suffered. In a sexual assault civil case, the following damages could be awarded:

  • Compensatory damages. These damages are intended to compensate the survivor for the losses they have endured due to the sexual assault or abuse. They may cover medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages, and other financial losses from the attack.
  • Pain and suffering. Sexual assault or abuse can cause severe emotional distress, mental anguish, and trauma. Survivors may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering they have experienced, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological injuries.
  • Punitive damages. In cases where the perpetrator's actions were particularly egregious or malicious, punitive damages may be awarded. The goal of these damages is not only to punish the rapist, but also to deter others from doing the same thing.
  • Legal fees. In some cases, the court may order the defendant to pay the victim's attorney fees and other legal expenses.

Each sexual assault case is, of course, unique, so the damages awarded will depend on the specifics of the case. Factors that play a part include the severity of the abuse, the impact on the survivor's life, the strength of the evidence, and the defendant's ability to pay. Working with our team of experienced sexual assault and abuse lawyers can help you navigate the legal process and pursue the appropriate damages in your civil lawsuits.

Trust The Blankenship Law Firm With Your Sexual Assault Case

Representing victims in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, we fight for the rights of sexual assault survivors. These are highly sensitive cases, and we treat our clients with compassion and respect. If you've experienced sexual abuse or assault, the civil litigators at our firm can help you hold the abuser accountable. Fill out our contact form to find out if we can help you, too.