Filing A Personal Injury Civil Lawsuit For Sexual Assault
My name is Konrad Kircher, and I have been practicing law for more than 30 years. For over two decades, I have been helping victims of sexual assault and sexual violence file civil lawsuits to hold abusers and assailants accountable for their actions. I founded Kircher Law, LLC, in Maineville to advocate on behalf of victims of sexual violence throughout Ohio.
I understand that if you are suffering from trauma as the result of a sexual attack, you probably have a lot of questions. Here, I answer some of the more commonly asked questions about filing a civil lawsuit for sexual assault. For answers to your specific questions, I offer a free initial consultation.
What is the difference between a criminal and a civil lawsuit for sexual assault?
Sexual assault and abuse is a crime. In the state of Ohio, criminal prosecutors can choose to bring criminal charges against a sex offender. If convicted, the defendant faces fines and jail time, and they may even have to register as a sexual predator with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification (SORN) database. While the offender pays a debt to society with their sentence, there is no accountability to the actual victim.
In a civil lawsuit, the survivor can sue the defendant for damages under the negligence and intentional tort laws in the state of Ohio. While a criminal lawsuit requires that an offender pays a debt to society, a civil lawsuit can hold a perpetrator liable and require that a debt be paid to the victim.
Is it hard to prove a civil case for sexual assault?
In a criminal case, the accused has constitutional rights that include proving their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil lawsuit for sexual assault, the plaintiff need only prove that the perpetrator committed a sexual offense beyond a preponderance of the evidence, which means that it was more likely than not that the defendant committed the assault. In other words, a civil case has a lower burden of proof.
What are the statute of limitations and filing deadlines for a civil action for sexual assault?
There are different considerations for statute of limitation deadlines for civil sexual assault lawsuits. For child victims of sexual abuse, there is a 12-year statute of limitations, which does not start until the victim reaches 18 years of age. In other words, a victim of child sexual abuse must file a lawsuit before they reach the age of 30. For adult victims of sexual assault, they must file a civil lawsuit within one year of the attack.
What kinds of damages can I recover in a civil lawsuit for sexual assault or sexual abuse?
Typically, victims can collect damages for the following in a civil lawsuit for sexual assault in the state of Ohio:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Therapy and mental health services
- Lost wages and income reimbursement
- Emotional pain and suffering
Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, survivors may also be able to recover punitive damages designed to punish the wrongdoer for their actions.
What are the challenges to bringing a personal injury or civil lawsuit for sexual assault?
One of the biggest challenges to a personal injury civil lawsuit for sexual harassment is collecting on the judgment. Because most lawsuits are filed against the individual assailant, if the defendant doesn’t have a lot of money, even if damages are awarded, the victim might not ever see any money if the defendant doesn’t have the ability to pay.
However, in some cases, victims might be able to file a third-party claim. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the assault, if the victim can prove that a third party was negligent and had a responsibility to provide better security or a safer work environment, then the survivor may be able to collect damages from the third party as well.
Do You Still Have Questions? Schedule A Free Consultation.
Every case is different with its own unique set of facts and circumstances. If you have specific questions about an incident involving a sexual assault or attack, I offer free initial consultations. To schedule your free appointment, call my office at 888-725-0811 or send me an email inquiry through my website.