You never think that it could happen to you, and then it does. An assailant sexually abuses you and you don’t know what to do next. Do you call a lawyer? Do you call the police? Should you go to the hospital?
When you have experienced something as traumatic as sexual abuse, it can be difficult to understand what your next steps should be. Unlike other instances where you may need a lawyer, being abused is not something you typically plan for ahead of time.
However, if you are victimized, you have legal options to pursue criminally and civilly.
After the assault, you should report the incident to the police so the assailant can be arrested and charged. When they are charged, the case will go to trial for criminal prosecution.
The purpose of criminal prosecution is to punish the defendant for the crimes they have committed against their victims. Unfortunately, these trials are not always successful and the defendant is often acquitted.
But that doesn’t mean your options as the victim of sexual assault are gone. Just because the defendant was acquitted at a criminal trial does not protect them from the victim seeking restitution through a civil suit.
In Georgia (this varies by state), you have the right to pursue a civil suit for monetary damages regardless of the criminal trial outcome. Many times, the burden of proof required to criminally convict an assailant is too high to guarantee a conviction. Unlike criminal trials where the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt”, the standard in civil cases is “a preponderance of the evidence”, which essentially means “more likely than not.” This is where civil suits come in.
As a victim, you may have been scared or embarrassed by what happened even though it was not your fault. This can cause the defendant to walk free from a criminal trial. Hiring a private attorney to seek a civil suit can go a long way towards healing.
When seeking damages in a civil lawsuit, it is vital to consult with an attorney experienced in Sexual Abuse cases. Many times, insurance policies do not cover criminal acts, meaning that financial recovery is more difficult.
When you hire Hoffspiegel Law, you hire a legal team with decades of experience trying cases involving Sexual Abuse. When you have been assaulted, we can ensure that you get fair and experienced representation against your abuser. Sign up for a consultation.