One of the most emotional situations we encounter is sexual assault claims. Sexual assault victims often feel like they have nowhere to turn for help, and no way to hold the perpetrator responsible. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), only 5 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults results in a felony conviction. That is a staggeringly low percentage.

Many victims are afraid to go to the police, or, victims do go to the police but the case fizzles out. That is not to blame law enforcement, because sexual assault claims are notoriously difficult from an evidentiary standpoint. The incident often only involves two people — the victim and the perpetrator.

Though there is no way to truly be made whole after a sexual assault, we can help. We can do a thorough and independent investigation to determine whether someone, or some entity, is legally responsible. We do not have the unilateral authority to put someone in prison, but we can get compensation for the victim, and some measure of accountability.

Sometimes this means we pursue claims even when law enforcement has given up. This is not to criticize law enforcement for lack of prosecution, as it can be more challenging to prove a criminal case than a civil case in some instances. Law enforcement is often, frankly, flooded with other issues and sometimes cases just go by the wayside. Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t find any answers with law enforcement; it’s still worth calling us to see if there is a civil case to pursue. It’s critical not to give up, as these are important cases in order to discourage future perpetrators.

Insurance Coverage for Sexual Assault Claims

Sexual assault claims are not just difficult from a proof perspective, the insurance coverage can also be tricky. Sexual assault perpetrators often have little or no assets, and to recover requires identifying and triggering insurance coverage. Insurance coverages typically contain intentional act and/or criminal exclusions that make recovery difficult, but and experienced attorney can potentially find ways around exclusions.

Sometimes finding insurance coverage means investigating whether other entities were involved. Perhaps the sexual assault was done by one bad actor, but it’s possible that there were others who knew or should have known what was occurring. Perhaps it was occurring in the employment context, and supervisors had reason to believe something was happening, and failed to act. This can be considered negligence, triggering insurance coverage. Every case is different, but it’s important to speak with a lawyer with experience in such matters.

Why File a Claim for Sexual Assault

Some people ask if it’s worth pursuing a claim, if it’s just for money. There are a couple answers to that question.

First, yes, ultimately the civil justice system is about recovering money for human losses. We cannot undo what has occurred, but the civil justice system can place a dollar value on your losses, including emotional losses. People initially struggle with this concept – money for emotional loss – but money is how we value everything in our society, for better or for worse. If a piece of rare art, or a sports car, or gold, can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, is it really that unreasonable for a human life to be worth more?

Additionally, pursuing a civil case is also about accountability. Holding the perpetrator, and perhaps other responsible parties, accountable for their bad acts. Don’t give them the satisfaction of getting away with it. Civil justice is real bonafide justice, and will teach the perpetrator a lesson, and warn others. It’s importaant for our communities that these cases are pursued.

If you have been affected by a sexual assault and are interested in discussing a potential civil claim, call us at Duckworth Law Office. We offer a personal and thoughtful approach. Call us today.