Sexual assault is a traumatic and life-altering experience that no one should endure. However, if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, it's essential to know your legal options to seek justice and compensation for the harm caused. In this blog post, we will discuss the different parties that can potentially be held liable in a sexual assault claim and provide some tips on navigating the legal process to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
The most obvious party to sue in a sexual assault claim is the person who committed the act. This individual can be held liable for the physical and emotional harm caused to the victim. In many cases, the assailant may be criminally prosecuted, but it's important to remember that a criminal case is separate from a civil lawsuit. A successful criminal prosecution can help support your civil claim, but you don't need to pursue a civil suit against the assailant. The Department of Justice provides resources and information on pursuing both criminal and civil cases related to sexual assault.
Employers and Institutions
In some cases, an employer or institution may be held liable for a sexual assault that occurred on their premises or was committed by one of their employees. This is known as "vicarious liability" and can apply if the employer or institution fails to provide a safe environment, properly screen or supervise their employees, or otherwise contribute to the assault. Examples of institutions that may be held liable include schools, universities, hospitals, and religious organizations. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides guidance on filing a complaint against an employer for sexual harassment or assault.
Property Owners and Managers
Property owners and managers are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for those who live, work, or visit their properties. This includes taking reasonable steps to prevent sexual assaults, such as providing adequate security measures and promptly addressing known risks. If a property owner or manager fails to meet this duty of care, they may be liable for any sexual assaults on their property.
In some cases, a third-party contractor may be held liable for a sexual assault if they were responsible for providing security or other services that could have prevented the assault. This can include security companies, event organizers, or even transportation providers. If a contractor's negligence or failure to perform their duties contributed to the assault, they may be liable in a civil lawsuit.
Although it's less common, government entities can sometimes be held liable for sexual assaults on their property or by their employees. This may include public schools, government buildings, or public transportation systems. In these cases, it's important to consult with an experienced attorney to determine if a claim against a government entity is possible and how to navigate the unique legal challenges involved in suing a government agency.
At KMD Law, we understand the complexities of sexual assault claims and are committed to helping victims seek the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual assault, contact our Beverly Hills, CA office today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options and determine the best course of action for your case.