Filing a Civil Claim for Sexual Assault
Unfortunately, many horrific sexual assault cases are presented to our firm on a fairly regular basis — involving both children and adults. While we do not want to share any details related to these heinous acts, we do want to walk you through the process of filing a civil claim for sexual assault if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault.
We at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Accident Injury Attorneys are one of the few firms in the state of Oregon who will handle sexual assault cases. Frankly, it’s an area of law that many firms are uncomfortable handling. And while these cases can certainly be uncomfortable to deal with due to the heinous nature of these crimes, our firm recognizes that we have some of the best attorneys and resources in place to help those who are in the unfortunate situation regarding sexual assault. In fact, one of our attorneys was a head prosecutor at a local DA’s office for sexual assault cases. Again, it’s this type of background and experience that allows our firm to excel in helping victims of sexual assault.
What rights do I have?
People often come to our firm asking this question. They are concerned about their rights and the ability to file a claim. Many times, this concern stems from the fact that the sexual assault occurred a long time ago. They want to know if there is something else they can do outside of what the DA’s office is doing. In other words, people want to know if there another claim type that can be filed? The answer is YES. There are various claims that can stem from sexual assault cases.
Taking a closer look at the multiple claim types
Here are some claims that often stem from sexual assault claims: assault, civil assault, battery, intentional inflection of emotional distress, abuse of a vulnerable person (there is a special protection for people of that class under Oregon law), and professional misconduct (if the sexual assault takes place at a place of work).
Understanding corporate liability
When it comes to corporate liability, there are certain facts that need to be tied back to the employer for corporate liability to take place. In many cases, employers are aware of the facts (or choose to ignore them) that are related to a specific employee. If this employee goes out and does a bad act that was foreseeable and preventable on the part of the employer, then corporate liability comes into play.
Timing of the claims
- Assault and battery: you have a two year of statute of limitations (must have settled or filed those claims within two years of the bad act that occurred).
- Abuse of vulnerable persons act: 7 years statute of limitations.
- Intentional inflection of emotional distress: 2 years statute of limitations for one single event. If it’s a series of events that are factually interlinked, you have until the date of the last act to file the claim (this would include all of the prior bad acts that came before it).
- If the act is defined as child abuse, the child has until he or she is 40 years old to file a claim. If any other act occurs that is not defined as child abuse (such assault and battery, for example), the child will have 2 years statute of limitations, plus their claim could be paused for five years — potentially giving the child 7 years to file the claim. The timing of every case depends on the relevant facts, but generally speaking, children are given extra time to file a claim.
Rules regarding governmental entities
There are special rules that get applied to governmental entities. For example, if an employee of a governmental entity engages in a bad act, then there is notice that is required to be given to the governmental entity (180 or 270 days depending on the age of the victim). Filing a claim falls under the two year statute of limitations, unless you are dealing with a minor (which would then be five years).
Understanding a lawyer’s role in these cases
The idea behind a civil action is to compensate an individual for both emotional and economic losses. As a personal injury firm, we want to provide compensation and justice to any victim of sexual assault. In order to do this, we look to recover directly against the person who committed the crime or the entity that was negligent (perhaps a negligent employer that could have prevented this person from harming someone else). Ideally, we look to find insurance for these actions. However, it is difficult to work with insurance companies since they have exclusions that protect them from covering intentional bad acts. Regardless, we always make our best effort to find the best source that will provide the victim with the highest compensation that is possible.
If you were a victim of sexual assault here in the state of Oregon, contact us today at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Accident Injury Attorneys for a free case evaluation. You can also reach us directly at: 1-800-285-8678. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys will work hard to ensure that you receive the justice that you deserve!