Speaking Your Truth: The Process of Filing a Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Speaking Your Truth: The Process of Filing a Sexual Assault LawsuitWhen an individual is sexually assaulted in Los Angeles, they can file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and any other liable parties. A civil lawsuit seeks compensation (damages) for injuries, harms, and losses.

When new clients meet with us, they often have a lot of questions about the process itself. So today, we want to talk about the process of making a claim, and what you can expect as your case progresses.

What does sexual assault mean?

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) organization, sexual assault is defined as “sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.” Why is this important? Because in California, sexual assault can encompass a number of different acts. As such, your particular claim may reference:

In some cases, the acts referenced in your civil lawsuit will have the same titles as those in a criminal case against the perpetrator.

Can anyone file a sexual assault lawsuit in Los Angeles, CA?

Anyone who experiences any type of non-consensual sexual behaviors from another person may file a sexual assault lawsuit in Los Angeles, CA. A family member can also file a lawsuit on the individual’s behalf if one of the following is true:

  • The sexual assault caused the individual’s death.
  • The family member witnessed the sexual assault.
  • The family member suffered loss of companionship or familial relationship.

What to bring to a meeting with your Los Angeles sexual assault lawyer

Once you’ve secured a meeting with an attorney, there is certain information you’ll need to bring. If you don’t have it for the initial meeting, that’s okay: you can send it along when you do, or our office can request it as part of the process. Here’s what we’ll need:

  • A copy of the medical report: Many people are too embarrassed and ashamed after experiencing sexual assault, but seeking medical care is critical to ensure your own health and safety. This report can also benefit your case tremendously. The doctor will likely order a “rape kit” – properly known as a sexual assault forensic exam – and ask about your experiences, which can be completely traumatizing. However, these forensic exams have the ability to collect the perpetrator’s DNA. When DNA is found, the abuser cannot deny the non-consensual sexual acts that they committed. It is important to know that even if you did not seek medical care within the first 72 hours, you can still file a sexual assault lawsuit.
  • A copy of the police report: While you may worry about others believing you, it is critical that you report your sexual assault to law enforcement. They will file a police report, which can be used as documentation evidence in your case.
  • The names of anyone you may have told about the assault: You may also feel comfortable enough to tell a family member, spouse, or friend about the sexual assault that took place. If you do, they may be able to testify on your behalf during a trial hearing. If your sexual assault occurred at work or another professional place, it is highly recommended that you report it to your manager, supervisor, or other authority figure.
  • Additional evidence and/or documentation: The more evidence that you can find to support your claim, the more successful your argument will be. Photographs, video footage, e-mails, text messages, and recorded phone calls can help support your claim. So can diary entries. Note that we may reach out to your employers about your work, to document any effects the assault has had on your professional life.

Determining liability in a Los Angeles sexual assault lawsuit

Once we have a more full understanding of your case and circumstances, we can determine who is liable. The person who abused or assaulted you is one liable party, but there could be others. Over the years, we have successfully sued school districts, community organizations, mandated reporters, and government agencies (among others) for their role in the act itself, or in its coverup.

Calculating damages for losses you can claim in a sexual assault lawsuit

In any civil claim, you can seek damages for your losses. Lawsuits for sexual assault are no different. One of the things we do as your attorneys is calculate those losses. Once we know who is liable, we calculate economic damages and non-economic losses such as:

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Emotional and mental trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Humiliation/ loss of reputation

In some cases, we may also seek punitive damages. This type of award is designed to punish a perpetrator, and to ensure that he or she never commits such an egregious act again.

The actual filing of the lawsuit with the court happens once all this information has been gathered together. We point this out because these initial steps can take some time to complete, and it can be frustrating to wait. But please trust us when we say that we will be here for you at every step. Taylor & Ring will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the best outcome possible for your case and that you are awarded the compensation you deserve to move forward with your life.

If you or a family member have been sexually assaulted in any way, please do not hesitate to contact the sexual assault lawyers at Taylor & Ring at your earliest convenience. Our team is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to the laws surrounding these types of cases, and we will do everything we can to stand up and fight for your rights.

Call our Los Angeles office or submit our contact form to start discussing your sexual assault case with an attorney today. We know that you have a lot on your plate right now, which is why we will help you navigate the process and ensure that it remains as smooth and stress-free as possible.