The damages you can collect in a civil lawsuit for sexual assault depend on how the assault affected you.
What Kind of Damages Can I Seek in a Sexual Assault Claim?
The sort of damages you can seek vary a bit depending on how the assault affected you and the type of claim you are filing.
For assault and battery suits, your damages are likely to include:
- Economic Damages: These damages reimburse you for costs and expenses resulting from your injuries. Economic damages commonly entail hospital bills, property repair, therapy, and any costs associated with long-term care. Losses incurred due to being unable to work following your injuries (or distress) fall under this designation, too.
- Punitive Damages: You can seek punitive damages as punishment for your assailant. There is no quantifiable number associated with punitive damages, so the payout is dependent on the degree of your injuries, the heinous nature of the crime, and your assailant’s finances.
- Noneconomic Damages: You can collect noneconomic damages for pain and suffering. While these are also not easy to quantify, these damages are distinct from punitive damages. Noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
In cases of intentional affliction of emotional distress, the damages collected will largely relate to your pain and suffering. However, it does require a fairly high burden of proof relative to most civil suits. In short, it requires proving that your assailant’s behavior was beyond the pale of tolerable behavior in civilized society.
Sexual assault usually fits this category as it is a violent, inexcusable crime.
How Do I Recover Damages for Sexual Assault?
To recover damages, you must file a claim against your attacker or another party that contributed to your attack. While it might appear so, there is no cause of action for “sexual assault.”
Instead, to collect damages for sexual assault, you will need to file an assault and battery or intentional affliction of emotional distress suit.
If another party’s negligent behavior led to your assault, you may be able to hold that party liable for negligent security.
What Are the Differences Between These Types of Civil Suits?
The difference between these suits is mainly the type of injury you suffer. In most cases, you will suffer only emotional damages from assault and affliction of emotional anguish, while you may have serious injuries related to a battery incident.
Assault: Apprehension of contact separates assault from battery. For example, if someone threatens or attempts to rape you, you can file assault charges.
Battery: Successful battery cases necessitate that the defendant intentionally caused physical harm or made physical contact that another party was likely to find “offensive or provoking.” In most cases, you will file a claim for sexual battery. Groping and rape fall under sexual battery.
Assault requires fear of or attempt to make harmful contact; battery requires actual harmful contact.
Intentional Affliction of Emotional Distress: These cases require proving that extreme and outrageous conduct led to your emotional distress.
Negligent Security: You might have other potentially responsible parties. If another party’s negligence caused your injuries, you might be able to hold that party liable for your assault.
For example, Georgia requires public and private property owners to take reasonable steps to maintain safe environments for anyone legally on their property (e.g., install gates if crime is common in the area, replace burnt out lights, hire security personnel, etc.).
Any of the following can lead to a negligent security claim:
- Sexual assault at a bar due to a lack of security guards
- Sexual assault at an apartment complex due to inadequate lighting, broken windows, faulty security measures, etc.
- Sexual assault at work due to negligent hiring (If your assaulter had authority over you and tried to wield that authority to abuse you, we may be able to file a claim based on abuse of power.)
You Are Not Alone. Call S. Burke Law for Help with Your Sexual Assault Claim.
S. Burke Law has worked on countless cases of this nature, so we understand how difficult a time this must be. Our team can help you navigate the nuances of sexual assault and help present your case. Call us at 404-842-7838 for more information and a free consultation with our team.