If a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault, you may be wondering how you can obtain justice from the perpetrator. If you’re in Oklahoma City, you can start by hiring an experienced sexual assault lawyer to handle your case so that you know your lawsuit is in the best hands possible.
7 Reasons to Find a Sexual Assault Lawyer
1. Experience With the Law
The main reason you want to find a lawyer who specializes in sexual assault is that you need someone who understands the legal proceedings around filing and trying a sexual assault case. You don’t want the perpetrator to get away with the crime, so you need a lawyer who’s tried this type of case before. They will know what needs to be filed with the court and when so that you don’t miss any deadlines that could jeopardize your case.
The statute of limitations for sexual assault cases varies from state to state, so it’s important for you to get an attorney that is well-acquainted with the laws in your area. Hiring an out-of-state attorney is not a good idea in sexual assault cases because you don’t want to take the chance of missing the filing deadline. Once the statute has run out, you won’t have the opportunity to file charges again.
Most sexual assault cases are going to require some investigation. It’s likely that the perpetrator will deny the charges against them, so you’ll need to secure evidence that proves your case. You should not be investigating your own case because it could put you in a dangerous situation, but you also might not have the financial resources available to hire an investigator yourself. This is where a lawyer who specializes in sexual assault can greatly help with your case.
Personal injury attorneys who handle sexual assault claims typically accept cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay for anything related to your case until you receive a settlement or court award. Not only does this allow you to pursue economic damages against the perpetrator, but it also provides you with access to the professionals you need to help prove your case and improve your odds of a settlement or award.
3. No Criminal Conviction Required
Even if the perpetrator in your case has not been convicted, you may be able to sue them in civil court for financial damages. Of course, a criminal conviction definitely provides powerful evidence in a civil case, but claims have been won without convictions as well. In fact, the burden of proof in a civil case is lower, so the chances of recovering damages in a civil trial are higher than winning a conviction in a criminal court.
Certainly, a monetary settlement isn’t going to make what happened to you or your loved one disappear, but if you’ve been assaulted, you deserve compensation for the injuries and economic harm you’ve suffered. You shouldn’t let the perpetrator off the hook because they haven’t been convicted or because you just want the situation to be over. A sexual assault attorney will do everything possible within their legal capacity to make sure that doesn’t happen.
4. Additional Liability
You may not realize that the perpetrator of the sexual assault crime against you or your loved one may not represent the only liability in your case. In some instances, there may be other entities that are responsible for your injuries as well. For example, if the assault happened in an institutional setting, like a school, church, or medical facility, that institution could have some liability in failing to provide security, covering up the crime, or failing to report it.
This institutional liability may not rise to the level of criminality, but, again, the burden of proof is lower in civil cases, and it’s possible they could be ordered to provide compensation to you or your loved one. Your sexual assault attorney will ensure that all responsible parties are named in the lawsuit so that you can receive all monetary damages to which you’re entitled. This can be difficult to determine on your own, but a lawyer can help.
5. Value of Your Case
As with determining who has liability in your case, calculating the value of your case can also be complicated. Of course, there are the actual medical bills you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries, but there are also additional economic losses your lawyer will consider when setting the compensation amount you’ll seek in your lawsuit. For instance, there could be wage losses if you had to miss time at work due to your physical or emotional injuries.
Additionally, you’ll want to claim any expected future expenses that will arise because of the assault. For example, you may have ongoing therapy needs, or if the assault resulted in a pregnancy, you’ll have all the expenses related to raising that child. You may also be able to claim damages for pain and suffering or other quality of life losses that are relevant to the assault. You’ll have access to financial experts to help calculate what your case is worth.
6. On Your Side
When you hire a lawyer who specializes in sexual assault cases, you’re also gaining an entire support network and someone who will fight relentlessly on your behalf. You need someone on your side to battle insurance companies and any other entity that stands in your way of getting justice for your assault. You want an attorney who will advocate for you just as they would a member of their own family, and those experienced in these cases do just that.
Sexual assault lawyers understand what you or your loved one has been through because they have experience with other victims. They know that you need and deserve fierce representation, especially if the perpetrator was not held criminally responsible in a court of law. While a monetary settlement or award won’t make up for what happened to you, it does help hold the perpetrator and any other liable entities accountable for their actions (or inaction) in a meaningful way.
7. Reduce Stress
You’re not going to be able to immediately eliminate all the stress related to your sexual assault case, but by handing over the legal aspects of the situation to an experienced lawyer you can focus on what you need to do to heal from the assault. The last thing you need right now is to have to deal with the daily reminders of the events that caused you both physical and mental harm. Your lawyer can do that for you.
Not only can your attorney remove the weight of dealing with the legal system from your shoulders, but they can also help you in your recovery by referring you to medical experts that will be able to assess your condition and provide ongoing recovery services. For instance, you may not know of a therapist who is experienced in sexual assaults, but it’s likely your lawyer will. An experienced therapist can also aid in building your case against the perpetrator.
Sexual assault is a devastating crime, and no one should feel like their perpetrator is not being held accountable for their actions. Contact Cannon & Associates today to schedule a free initial consultation so you can get on the path toward justice and recovery.