If you or a loved one were the victims of sexual assault in Pennsylvania, you may be wondering what legal options are available to you. Our experienced legal team can help.
In working with previous victims, our sexual assault attorneys have witnessed first-hand the devastating effect that sexual crimes can have; this is why we’re so aggressive in our fight against perpetrators of sexual abuse and the organizations that enable them.
No one should be subjected to such a traumatizing experience. If you or someone close to you were affected, you need to know that justice and closure are possible. Contact us today to take the first step on the path to healing and recovery.
Our team has put this page together as an informational resource. Nevertheless, if you have any questions with regards to the powerful legal options at your disposal as a victim of sexual assault, we highly suggest getting in contact with us today for a free and confidential legal consultation.
Through a free consultation, and by evaluating the facts of your case, we’ll be able to explain in simple terms the legal process and how you can take the first step towards justice.
There is no federal law that establishes which acts are considered to be sexual assault, which means that each state has individual laws to govern these crimes. However, the laws around these types of crimes are quite similar across the board.
Most states follow the path of subdividing the term “sexual assault” into individual offenses. For instance, ‘rape’ is an act that falls under sexual assault, as are ‘sexual abuse’ and ‘molestation’. Accordingly, each of these acts carries its own punishment.
As a general rule, a situation in which one individual is forced or coerced by another person into engaging in a sexual act can be considered sexual assault. Furthermore, victims do not necessarily have to be physically involved in the act. If the perpetrator of the crime forces them to watch a sexual act, for instance, this too may be considered sexual assault.
Sexual assault can happen to anyone: man or woman, young or old. Our Pennsylvania law office has seen cases of disabled elderly in nursing homes and special needs students in religious communities falling victim to sexual predators. With such a wide variety of situations in which the crimes take place, how does the law define the victims?
As with the definition of the term itself, the law defining the victim of sexual crimes varies from state to state. And once more, it is the general understanding that anyone affected directly by the crime is considered the victim. The negative consequences, or damages, experienced by a victim can be physical or emotional, a fact that can help victims demonstrate for a court how broad and severe the trauma can be.
Ultimately, the broad definition of the crime, as well as the broad definition for the victim themselves, empowers those who’ve been sexually assaulted to seek justice.
Unfortunately, while the criminal system of justice is effective at doling out punishment to those it finds guilty of crimes, it is much less known for taking care of the victims of those same convicted criminals. This is where the civil system of justice comes in.
Our PA sex assault lawyers are often asked:
“How can a lawsuit help victims of sexual assault?”
It can seem counterintuitive to put victims through a long legal process when, oftentimes, they would rather forget about the incident and try to move on. And yet, filing a civil lawsuit can be one of the only ways for victims to achieve compensation.
A court may indeed find a person guilty of the sexual assault charge, sentence them to prison, and perhaps order a limited amount of restitution to be paid to the victim and their family. However, these criminal verdicts rarely take into consideration long-term medical care or other damages suffered by the victim. Moreover, it may not hold responsible an organization that enabled or protected the perpetrator.
This is where the civil system of justice comes in.
With the help of a sexual assault lawyer, and via a civil lawsuit, victims and their loved ones may be able to seek damages against the individual who committed the crime as well as any entity that may have known about the acts and remained quiet.
These damages can be broad in their scope and regularly include compensation for past, current, and future medical expenses. For example, therapy is seen as one of the most powerful tools for healing from such trauma but it can be quite expensive; these economic concerns are all but erased for victims who are successful in their legal claims.
Perhaps most importantly, undergoing the legal process and finally achieving justice can be an incredibly important step for victims on the road to recovery. Many victims feel stronger, both physically and mentally. Where perpetrators of sexual assault make their victims feel powerless, the justice system returns that power to them. And if you were impacted by sexual abuse, it can do the same for you.
A statute of limitation indicates how much time a victim has to bring forth a valid legal claim against the responsible parties (the “defendant”). After this predetermined amount of time has passed, the claim is no longer viable and will likely not be upheld by a judge.
As you may be able to guess by now, each state has different statutes of limitations with regard to sexual assault. In the state of Pennsylvania, an adult victim of sexual abuse or assault must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the incident.
The law is more lenient when sexual abuse of minors is involved. If a victim was underage when the crime is purported to have occurred, they have until their 30th birthday to bring forth their claim.
Once more we must establish that all cases are different. If you don’t think you have the need for a sexual assault lawyer, we still suggest getting in contact with our legal team. Any questions you may have will be answered by an experienced sex assault lawyer, and any doubts as to whether you can pursue a legal claim or not will be completely relieved.
Technology has brought us many wonderful advancements; the ridesharing phenomena is just one of them. Regrettably, even this modern transportation solution has created an environment for sexual assault to thrive.
Many Uber passengers have come forth with claims of being sexually assaulted and/or abused by their drivers within the confines of the vehicle. In fact, class-action lawsuits have already been filed in various states. If you were the victim of sexual assault by an Uber driver, do not delay in speaking with our experienced legal team, as time may play a significant factor in your possibilities for presenting a claim.
Our team of personal injury lawyers in Pennsylvania is prepared to stand up and fight for your rights.
We not only believe that your voice deserves to be heard, but that justice should be within reach for all – It’s why we offer free legal consultations for all. The consultation is also 100% confidential, so if you’ve got questions about your options, call today or fill out the form on this page now.