Can I sue the person who raped me?
Sexual assault and rape cause significant physical and emotional trauma for sexual abuse victims. Frequently, the perpetrator never faces criminal charges. When they face criminal charges, the perpetrators of these crimes may receive stiff fines or jail sentences, but those fines don’t compensate the victim. If you were raped or were the victim of a sexual assault, you have the right under Texas law to sue your attacker and collect damages for your physical and emotional injuries.
Let the compassionate, respectful sexual abuse victims’ attorneys at Blass Law get to work for you. We can help you sue the person responsible for the assault and get compensation for your emotional trauma, physical injuries, psychotherapy, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call (713) 225-1900 to speak to a rape victims’ attorney today or request a confidential case evaluation online.
What is Sexual Assault?
Texas law defines sexual assault as any type of nonconsensual sexual act, including when the victim lacks the capacity to consent. If someone does not give explicit consent for sexual contact and another ignores the person’s wishes, they can wind up with a second-degree felony charge that carries hefty fines along with a prison sentence.
Sexual assault includes many sexually abusive acts such as groping or fondling, attempted rape, and any other unwarranted sexual contact. The Texas Sexual Assault Statue (Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22, Sections 22.011 and 22.021) also states that sexual assault has occurred when the victim is under the age of 17 years old – even if consent was given.
Unfortunately, victims of sexual assault typically know their attacker. According to National Institute of Justice, nearly 90 percent of people assaulted or raped at college know the perpetrator. These attackers include neighbors, classmates and coworkers. Nearly half of college sexual assaults take place at a party or on a date.1
What if the Perpetrator Was Not Convicted?
As a sexual assault survivor in Texas, you can file a civil lawsuit against your attacker even if they weren’t charged or didn’t get convicted in criminal court. You may even be able to sue a third party under premises liability statutes if your assault resulted from inadequate security, poor lighting, or other negligence. Civil lawsuits have a lower burden of proof and will hold your attacker financially responsible, even if they never spend a day behind bars. You can call the sex crime victims’ lawyers at Blass Law to pursue this alternate path for justice.
Statute of Limitations in Texas
Texas provides a much shorter statute of limitations for civil cases than it does for this type of criminal charge. In most personal injury lawsuits, you must file a claim within two years of the injury. However, certain sexual assault crimes carry an extended statute of limitations, allowing a lawsuit within five years of the assault or rape. If the victim is a minor, then the timetable for the statute of limitations does not start until after the victim’s 18th birthday.
Title IX and Sexual Assault in Schools
The federal government established Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to prohibit sexual discrimination, harassment or sexual violence against students and staff in schools that receive federal funding. Title IX mandates that schools investigate sexual crimes and work to stop any verbal sexual harassment along with any physical aggression, intimidation, sexual favors, or sexual violence.
Many sexual assault survivors have taken action against colleges and universities that have failed to protect their rights after a sexual attack has occurred while on campus. Students should know their rights which include filing a private lawsuit under Title IX regardless of whether they’ve filed a complaint with the school or the police. Since statutes of limitation are relatively short in these cases and can vary from state to state, it is crucial to speak with a sexual assault lawyer to make sure your rights as a student are protected under Title IX.
Who is Liable for Sexual Abuse?
The person who assaulted another is the one that is liable for sexual assault. Proving sexual abuse cases involves gathering information from different sources to meet the detailed standards of evidence required by law to prosecute and win a sexual assault case. A part of any settlement or compensation may rest on an evaluation of injuries sustained, both physical and emotional. The sexual abuse attorneys at Blass Law will evaluate your case to determine all liable parties – which can go beyond the primary assailant.
As mentioned above, sexual assault or rape lawsuit may include a negligent third party. For example, an employer may be found liable for allowing sexual harassment in the workplace. At other times, it may be a customer, client, or vendor that visits the workplace and interacts with employees that can be held liable for a sexual assault.
Contact a Sex Crimes Victims Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered a sexual assault or a rape, we can offer you a compassionate case evaluation. We want to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. We want to empower you to hold your attacker and the institutions that enabled them responsible for their actions, which could be dragging their image through the mud in the media, or through financial compensation. Call (713) 225-1900 to speak to the sexual assault and rape victims’ lawyers at Blass Law or request a confidential case assessment online.