Sexual assault, whether it is molestation or rape, is a serious crime that can cause long-term physical and psychological harm. Too often, victims are not aware, however, that they can also enlist an injury attorney to try to obtain compensation for a sexual assault, rather than rely on the police and prosecutors to bring the person who committed the crime to justice. A criminal case does not always compensate a victim for the injuries suffered. If you are a victim of sexual assault, you should be aware that there are several different legal theories under which you may be able to sue either the attacker or another entity responsible for the attack. A Detroit, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids sexual assault lawyer at the Neumann Law Group can advise you if you are in this situation.Assert Your Legal Rights after a Sexual Assault
You can seek compensation from a person who committed a sexual assault under a variety of civil liability theories, including assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of stalking statutes, negligent transmission of an STD, or wrongful death. The compensation may include an award for any psychological suffering caused by the assault. When a defendant is found guilty in a criminal proceeding, the focus in the civil claim will be on the amount of damages. However, even if the defendant is not found guilty, you may have a chance to secure compensation.
In a civil case, you need to prove the defendant's wrongdoing by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a lower, more lenient standard than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of a criminal trial. Generally, the preponderance of the evidence standard means that something is more than 50 percent likely to have happened.
In some cases, you can hold a third party responsible for a sexual assault. For example, Michigan landlords and storeowners have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe from foreseeable criminal acts. If you suffer a sexual assault on someone else's property, and there is a history of sexual assaults in that location, you may be able to bring a negligent security claim.
If you use this strategy, you will have to show that the landlord or storeowner knew or should have known about the history of similar attacks and that your attack was foreseeable. Generally, if a property owner or manager knows of prior similar attacks, they are required to take steps to protect people whom they have invited on the property or residents of the property. This may include installing better locks, installing security cameras, installing extra lighting, hiring security guards, and taking actions necessary to protect residents or visitors. If they fail to do so, and somebody is sexually assaulted, they may be held accountable.Enlist a Sexual Assault Lawyer in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, or Detroit
At the Neumann Law Group, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City sexual assault attorney Kelly Neumann offers experienced legal representation to people who have suffered injuries in a wide range of circumstances. As an award-winning personal injury and wrongful death lawyer, Ms. Neumann has consistently settled more than $3 million in her cases each year over the past several years. The Neumann Law Group can represent people in Petoskey, Warren, Dearborn, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, and Ann Arbor, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. We also can assist residents of California and Massachusetts. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free consultation.