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What’s The Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Lawsuit in a Sexual Assault Case?

Understanding The Legal Process in Sexual Assault Claims

Sexual assault is a heinous act that has long-lasting effects on survivors. In some cases, survivors may take legal action against their perpetrators. But what does that look like? What are the differences between civil and criminal lawsuits in sexual assault cases? Let's discuss the details.

Civil Lawsuits

A civil lawsuit is a more common lawsuit available to survivors of sexual assault. In a civil lawsuit, the survivor (the plaintiff) takes legal action against the perpetrator and/or an institution that is legally responsible for the conduct of the perpetrator (the defendant or defendants) to receive financial compensation for any physical or emotional injuries they sustained resulting from being assaulted. When filing this type of lawsuit, it's important to note that the defendant perpetrator will not go to jail without criminal charges since it is considered a civil matter. Rather, if the suit is successful, the defendant/s may have to pay monetary damages or provide other types of compensation, such as medical treatment or therapy sessions for the survivor and more. A civil suit may be held alongside a criminal suit. Read on to learn more.

Criminal Suits

In contrast with a civil suit, which seeks financial compensation for any damages or injuries sustained by the survivor, a criminal lawsuit holds perpetrators accountable for their actions through incarceration and/or fines. To file a criminal lawsuit against an individual who sexually assaulted them, survivors must report their assaults to local law enforcement and the decision to proceed with criminal charges against the perpetrator will be up to the prosecutor based on the amount of evidence supporting a criminal case. If successful, there can be severe repercussions for perpetrators, such as jail time and hefty fines. It is important to note that even if you cannot press criminal charges due to statute of limitations issues or insufficient evidence, you may still be able to take legal action through a civil suit against your perpetrator(s) as mentioned above.

Taking Action After Sexual Assault

Taking action after experiencing sexual assault can be daunting—especially when determining what steps should be taken. Knowing the difference between civil and criminal lawsuits can help give survivors more options when seeking justice and closure from their experiences. Ultimately, though, the decision whether or not to take legal action should always be made with respect and consideration for how it will affect each survivor's emotional well-being during this difficult time. Suppose you have experienced sexual assault and are considering taking legal action against your perpetrator(s) or an institution who is legally responsible for the conduct of the perpetrator. In that case, we encourage you to seek advice from an experienced attorney specializing in this field to gain clarity about your rights and options moving forward with your case.

Get Legal Help After Sexual Assault Today

When it comes to sexual assault, justice should never be denied. Survivors of sexual assault must remember that they are not alone in this fight and ensure their voices continue to be heard until justice is served. Survivors must reach out for help during this difficult and painful time, such as resources made available or by getting legal counsel from lawyers who can get them the support and compensation they deserve. This can be a long journey, but standing up to perpetrators is worth it. By holding those accountable for their actions, an example is set for all others survivors of such a horrific tragedy that justice will prevail. Remember: You are not alone in this. Seek help today and regain control of your life with the assistance of a qualified attorney who shares your same goal – justice.

Contact The Zalkin Law Firm, P.C. today at (800) 477-2989 to schedule a consultation.