Sexual assault is a serious offense that carries heavy criminal penalties. However, California’s courts can be slow to prosecute these crimes. Perpetrators are often released without consequence, leaving victims to suffer physical and long-term psychological trauma.
While sexual assault survivors may feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of an attack, our Costa Mesa sexual assault lawyer advises they should follow these steps to eventually help bring a wrongdoer to justice.
Get Medical Attention
Hospitals and clinics often have medical staff who are specially trained to investigate sexual trauma and collect evidence of an attack. Even if you do not wish to press criminal charges against the suspected perpetrator, a medical record helps you preserve evidence of the assault.
If you wait too long to see a doctor, this critical evidence could degrade or disappear, making it substantially more difficult for the police or your sexual assault attorney to build their case against the wrongdoer.
Report the Incident
Speaking out after a Orange County sexual assault can be challenging. You likely feel violated and upset. If you knew your attacker, you might be reluctant to file charges—especially if they were someone you once loved and trusted.
You do not have to rush to the police after a sexual assault. However, you should tell a trusted friend, family member, or a survivors’ advocacy organization, such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline. While you are never obliged to act on a report, a report could make a critical difference in a criminal trial or civil complaint.
Protect and Preserve the Evidence
Criminal and civil sexual assault cases often hinge on the availability of reliable evidence. Even if you did not report the assault to the police or other authorities, you can still preserve evidence of the assault. You could set aside the clothes you were wearing during the attack, placing them inside a sealed bag or another container.
If you do decide to take action, the evidence you saved could be analyzed to provide proof of a perpetrator’s wrongdoing.
Speak to an Experienced California Sexual Assault Attorney
When you feel ready to hold the perpetrator responsible for their crimes, contact Case Barnett Law. Our team of sexual assault attorneys can help you plan a legal strategy. We could assist the police in their investigation before filing an eventual claim for damages or take the accused straight to court on the basis of existing evidence.
Your Possible Damages in a Sexual Assault Civil Lawsuit
California’s criminal courts cannot always hold the perpetrators of sexual assault accountable for their heinous misconduct.
However, even a successful prosecution does not guarantee fair compensation. While a criminal court could order a convicted individual to pay restitution, it may not be sufficient to cover the costs of your medical bills and emotional trauma.
Case Barnett Law could help you file a claim to recover damages, including:
- Your past, present, and future medical expenses
- The income you lost from work as a result of the assault
- Your emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship with an existing romantic or sexual partner
California does not currently cap the damages you could receive in a sexual assault lawsuit. Case Barnett Law could help you secure the compensation you need to pay off your medical bills and begin the difficult process of moving past a tragedy.
Contact Case Barnett Law Today
If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault, Case Barnett Law could help you hold a wrongdoer responsible, even if police are unwilling to press their case or the prosecutor failed to secure a conviction. When you file a civil lawsuit against a rapist or other wrongdoer, you could ensure they face serious financial consequences for their crimes—and prevent other people from getting hurt.
You can find out whether you have a valid case at no cost to you. That’s because we offer free consultations. To request a free consultation with our team, reach out by calling 949-409-0055 or filling out the online contact form below. We have been proudly servicing clients throughout Costa Mesa, California, and the surrounding areas.