In Illinois, sexual assault victims can take their perpetrators to civil court to recover financial compensation for their suffering. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you could obtain compensation for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other expenses related to the sexual assault. If your loved one has been the victim of a sexual assault, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
At Stein & Shulman, LLC, we understand how difficult these types of claims can be, and our empathetic lawyers will listen carefully to your story and provide you with the skilled legal representation you deserve. Our lawyers have helped many Illinois clients obtain compensation for their economic and non-economic damages related to sexual assault. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation to learn more about how we can help.
The Difference Between Criminal and Civil Sexual Assault Cases
Being the victim of sexual assault is devastating and overwhelming. In the aftermath of the assault, many victims wonder what their next steps should be. More than likely, the sexual abuser will face criminal charges related to sexual assault in an Illinois criminal court. Many people assume that the criminal trial is the end of the legal process.
Victims feel a sense of justice when their perpetrators are convicted of sexual assault and required to go to jail. However, a criminal conviction isn’t the only type of retribution available for sexual assault victims. Criminal courts cannot force the convicted abuser to financially compensate his or her victim. An Illinois criminal court may force the defendant to pay fines, but those fines do not go to the victim’s recovery.
Victims of sexual assault have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their perpetrator for damages related to the sexual assault. Civil lawsuits are intended to hold the perpetrator accountable financially and prevent them from doing further damage to other victims and the community at large. Instead of focusing on the defendant’s crime, civil lawsuits focus on the victim’s damages and the compensation they deserve.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual assault, you can seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit before, during, or after the criminal trial. It’s wise to speak to a Chicago sexual assault lawyer as soon as possible so you can begin preparing your case before the statute of limitations runs out.
Types of Sexual Assault and Abuse Claims
Sexual assault involves any act in which one person intentionally sexually touches another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault often involves one person, and coercing is physically forcing a person to engage in a sex act. Sexual assault ranges from unwanted sexual touching to rape. Sexual assault also includes molestation, groping, or any behavior of a sexual nature perpetrated on a victim without his or her consent. Examples of sexual assault include the following:
- Rape, including statutory rape, date rape, and acquaintance rape
- Sexual assault of a mentally disabled individual
- Sexual abuse of children
- Sexual abuse by law enforcement officers
- Sexual abuse in nursing homes
- Sexual abuse in schools and daycares
- Sexual abuse in churches and religious organizations
- Sexual assault in community organizations
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit for Sexual Assault
As the victim of a sexual assault, you will need to name the perpetrator or perpetrators in your civil sexual assault lawsuit. In the majority of sexual assault cases, the victims are acquainted with the perpetrators. Some of the most common sexual assault perpetrators are family members, spouses, romantic partners, acquaintances, teachers, coaches, and church leaders.
Naming the perpetrator can be difficult, especially if he or she is a relative or friend. After identifying the perpetrator, you will work with an attorney to gather evidence to prove your claim. Evidence typically includes medical records, witness statements, criminal histories, video, and picture evidence. At Stein & Shulman, LLC, we understand how difficult it is to recover from a sexual assault and will help you gather the evidence and documents you need while you focus on your recovery. Whatever you can tell us about the sexual assault will help your case. It’s challenging to think about what happened, but the more details you provide, the better your lawyer will be able to gather evidence to support your case.
Holding the Perpetrator Responsible
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Stein & Shulman, LLC, have held many sexual assault perpetrators accountable in civil lawsuits. In addition to holding the person who committed the acts financially responsible, you may be able to hold their employer or the organization responsible for them accountable as well. For example, if a pastor or priest sexually assaulted your child, you can pursue legal action against the church.
Similarly, suppose a perpetrator sexually assaulted you in a dark parking lot in your apartment complex with no security cameras. In that case, you may be able to hold the owner of the apartment complex liable. Under Illinois law, when a company or organization negligently fails to create a reasonably safe environment, they can be held liable for sexual assaults that occur on their property. Likewise, when an employer negligently hires an employee with a high risk of engaging in sexual assault, they can be held liable by the victim.
Successful personal injury plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for all of the damage they endured due to the sexual abuse. They are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are damages that have a financial impact on the victim, such as past and future medical bills. Non-economic damages include compensation for emotional distress, diminish the quality of life, pain, and suffering.
Contact Our Chicago Sexual Assault Lawyers Today
If you or your loved one has been the victim of sexual assault in Illinois, you may be wondering what legal options are available to you. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Stein & Shulman, LLC can help you hold your abuser accountable for what he has done to you. Our Chicago sexual assault attorneys have helped many clients obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact our Chicago personal injury law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.