Filing a Long Island Sexual Assault Case
Bringing a civil case can give many sexual assault victims a sense of empowerment, unlike in a criminal case where a district attorney appears for the people of New York. The district attorney is not the client’s lawyer, they are the state’s lawyer, and they would prosecute the assailant. They would get some feedback from the victim, and they typically let the victim know what is going on, but the victim really has no control over what goes on in the courtroom during criminal proceedings.
Alternatively, a victim who brings a personal injury case against their assailant has much more control. For example, they get to testify in depositions and participate in negotiations and, they can receive money if their case is successful. Victims who take this route typically do so because they want to be compensated for the injuries they sustained. If someone commits a wrong, the person that has been injured or victimized as a result has a right to bring a civil claim under New York law.
Proving Civil Cases
Once an assailant pleads guilty to a crime, whether it is punching someone in the face or sexually assaulting another person, the civil case is easy compared to a criminal case, which has a higher standard of proof. For example, the standard of proof in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt. When someone pleads guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and acknowledges that they did something wrong, there is nothing to prove in a civil case on the issue of liability. The courts bring the criminal case conviction into civil court, so liability could already have been established.
The Client’s Civil Sexual Assault Case
The attorneys brought an assault case instead of a civil case. Attorneys cited multiple causes of action against the defendant and law firm. A cause of action against the law firm was for negligently hiring the assailant, another was for assault brought against the assailant, and another for false imprisonment because the victim was forced to stay in a particular area for some period of time and could not get away. There were a few non-personal injury causes of action like fraud and misrepresentation that were filed, but they were not the core of the claim.
Calculating Damages in a Sexual Assault Case
Damages for sexual assault cases can be difficult to quantify because there can be many emotional and abstract injuries involved. You cannot get an x-ray that shows a specific injury of post-traumatic stress or depression. A lawyer should evaluate a sexual assault case from day one, as they can gain a better understanding of potential damages as the client’s injuries evolve — whether they worsen or improve. It should be a constant evaluation.
In order to be fair to the client, an attorney should tell their client whether the assailant even has money to pay for damages. Clients deserve to have a reasonable expectation of what they could get in the end, as pursuing compensation can be a long and grueling process. They should be given the opportunity to make an educated decision on whether to proceed with the charges.
Attorneys, in this case, followed the client’s medical and psychological records to monitor their progression, which proved to be substantially helpful in determining the worth of the case. Further, there is rarely insurance coverage in sexual assault cases, unlike most personal injury cases. The assailant, in this case, did not have insurance that would cover them for sexually assaulting someone, so attorneys considered the probability of getting compensatory payments from this person.