Experiencing sexual assault is highly traumatic. Unfortunately, it is also highly common. In today’s day and age, more survivors are coming forward to share their stories and seek justice. You are not alone.
If you have experienced sexual assault in Clearwater, FL, call Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 787-2500, we can help you hold the abuser accountable. Our Clearwater sexual assault lawyers will fight to get justice. This includes compensation for your physical and emotional injuries.
Our team has over 50 years of combined experience and has recovered more than $120 million for our clients. We are prepared to use our knowledge and skills to help you navigate your Clearwater sexual assault case.
Contact our personal injury law firm to set up a free consultation today.
How Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Sexual Assault in Clearwater, FL
If you’ve been sexually assaulted in Clearwater, Florida, the perpetrator might face criminal charges and even go to jail. A criminal case may be satisfying, but it won’t necessarily make you whole. You might be left with medical bills, emotional trauma, and a lifelong journey of healing.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers can file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for your losses. Not only will the perpetrator be held civilly responsible, but you’ll also get a chance to recover expenses and focus on your well-being.
When you hire our law firm, you’ll have the benefit of working with a legal team that has received national recognition. Our Clearwater personal injury attorneys are members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, named Super Lawyers, and have a 10.0 Avvo rating from our clients. We also hold a Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent Rating.
By trusting Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers, we will:
- Provide honest and clear legal advice
- Conduct an impartial and complete investigation into the sexual assault
- Review medical records and consult expert witnesses
- Collect evidence to support you at trial
- Negotiate with opposing counsel for a full and fair settlement
- Keep track of important paperwork and deadlines
- Update you on the progress of your case and keep you informed each step of the way
- File a personal injury lawsuit
- Go to trial and represent you in front of a jury
Our personal injury lawyers in Clearwater work for a contingency fee. That means you don’t pay us anything unless and until we recover money for you. Unlike other lawyers, you won’t get a monthly bill or wonder how we spend our hours. Our fee is directly tied to the success of your case.
If you’re prepared to move forward, call our law office to set up a free consultation. Our Clearwater sexual assault attorneys are ready to talk more about your legal options and how we can help.
What Is Considered Sexual Assault in Florida?
Sometimes sexual assault is obvious, but other times it can be more subtle. Sexual assault is unwanted and non-consensual touching, sexual conduct, or verbal sexual harassment. Civil sexual assault usually results in physical harm, emotional suffering, or both.
Examples of sexual assault include:
- Rape or attempted rape
- Sexual touching
- Sexual contact by force or violence, or threats of force or violence
- Sexual intimidation
- Indecent exposure
- Verbal sexual abuse
- Unwelcome sexual advances
Some types of sexual assault can also result in criminal charges.
How Common Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is, unfortunately, very common in our society. Since there are many different types of sexual assault, it can be difficult to track statistics.
According to RAINN, an American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds across the nation. There are an average of 463,634 rape and sexual assault victims each year. In 2020, there were 35.4 instances of forcible rape per 100,000 residents in Florida.
Both men and women are at risk of sexual assault. It is estimated that 17.7 million American women and 2.78 million American men have suffered attempted or completed rape. Women aged 16-19 are four times more likely to become victims of sexual assault. And female college students are three times more likely than women in general.
Physical Injuries and Emotional Trauma Associated With Sexual Assault
Sexual assault can result in serious physical injuries and long-lasting psychological trauma.
In our experience representing victims, we have found that the most common injuries include:
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Genital bleeding
- Genital tearing
- Bruising on inner thighs, arms, and wrists
- Choking and collapsed trachea
- Broken and fractured bones
- Psychological trauma
- Substance abuse
- Depression, anxiety, PTSD
Of course, some instances of sexual assault don’t result in physical injury; but it may cause severe psychological trauma. This can be just as damaging as physical pain. In fact, people who experience sexual assault are ten times more likely to use major drugs and 33% more likely to contemplate suicide.
We can help you determine the value of your Clearwater sexual assault case and recover damages even if there isn’t physical proof of the assault.
How To Prove Sexual Assault in Clearwater
In order to prove sexual assault in Clearwater, you must apply a civil tort theory to the case. When you are pursuing a civil case, it is essentially a personal injury tort case.
There are a few common avenues to proving sexual assault, including:
- Intentional tort theory
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress
- Premises liability
- Vicarious liability
Depending on how the sexual assault happened, your Clearwater personal injury lawyer will apply the appropriate theory as the basis of the lawsuit.
Who Is Liable in a Clearwater Sexual Assault Case?
In most sexual assault cases, the perpetrator is liable for your damages. This is the person who committed the molestation, rape, or unwanted sexual contact.
However, sometimes other parties are also liable for allowing or contributing to the sexual assault, including:
- Employers, if the perpetrator is an employee
- Property owners, if the assault happened on their property (negligent security)
- Landlords and property management companies
- Churches and religious organizations
- Schools and teachers
- Daycare centers
- Nonprofits and community organizations
An experienced lawyer will help you identify everyone who contributed to the sexual assault and who may share responsibility. For example, perhaps the sexual assault happened at school or work. The employer or the school may be partially at fault for contributing to the circumstances of the assault.
Naming multiple defendants can increase your chances of recovering compensation compared to seeking payment from just one person.
What Damages Can I Pursue After a Sexual Assault in Clearwater, FL?
You can ask for the same damages in a sexual assault case as in any other personal injury matter. There are three different types of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are paid for actual financial losses that you incurred or will incur because of the sexual assault.
In many sexual assault cases, we request economic damages for:
- Medical bills
- Therapy and psychological counseling
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Physical disfigurement
You can prove economic damages through receipts, bills, income statements, and other evidence. It’s best to keep track of all documentation after a sexual assault so that you can prove it later in court.
Non-economic damages are compensation for emotional and psychological trauma after a sexual assault. They are intangible and account for the deep impact that sexual assault can have on your life.
Many of our clients seek compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- The onset of mental illness, particularly PTSD, anxiety, and depression
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The amount of your non-economic damages will depend on the specific trauma that you experienced and how it has impacted you. This is often proven through your testimony or the testimony of mental health providers, family, and loved ones.
Punitive damages are reserved as extra punishment for a perpetrator. Instead of compensating you for losses, the purpose is to deter future bad conduct.
In Florida, you can only request punitive damages if the defendant acted intentionally or with a conscious disregard for your safety. The plaintiff must prove these damages by clear and convincing evidence.
As an example, if you experience a forcible rape, you are more likely to be awarded punitive damages because the conduct is obviously intentional.
What Is the Statute of Limitations For Sexual Assault Claims in Florida?
Under Florida law, you have four years to file a lawsuit based on sexual assault in most cases. However, in some circumstances, such as cases based on negligence, you may only have two years.
It is best to consult a lawyer early on in your case so that you know which deadline will apply. If you miss the deadline, you will lose your right to seek legal compensation. By seeking legal counsel sooner rather than later, you will ensure that your rights are protected.
Set Up a Free Consultation With a Clearwater Sexual Assault Attorney
Don’t let the person who sexually assaulted you off the hook. You deserve justice and recourse for their actions.
Call a Clearwater sexual assault lawyer at Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers to set up a free consultation. We are ready to learn more about your case and explain how our law firm can help you reach your goals.