When people are victims of sexual assault, they usually know they can report the assault to the police and see if the offender can be arrested, taken into custody, and charged under the Texas Penal Code. But what few sexual assault victims realize is that they may be able to file a personal injury claim after being a victim of sexual assault.
“What if my abuser can’t be located? Does that mean that I can’t file a personal injury lawsuit?” Even if the sex offender can’t be located, that
doesn’t mean that the victim can’t file a civil lawsuit in the form of a personal injury claim. For example, if the sexual assault occurred at the victim’s workplace, at a motel, or in a private residence, the victim still may have the opportunity to file a claim for damages.
What if There is a Criminal Case?
When there is a criminal case for sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.011 or 22.021 of the Texas Penal Code, the defendant typically faces fines, incarceration, and other sanctions. But even if there is a criminal case, that does not preclude the victim from filing a personal injury case for damages, which compensates the victim for the harm he or she suffered as a result of the sex crime.
“What if the perpetrator is in custody, but he does not have any assets for the victim to go after?” In this case, a third party could be found liable for the sexual assault. For example, if the assault took place at a school, at a business, an amusement park, a concert, or another institution, the property owner or lessee may be held liable under the theory of negligent supervision, which has to do with failing to provide adequate security.
If you were sexually assaulted and it was reported and resulted in a criminal prosecution, you have a better chance of succeeding with your civil lawsuit. Even if you don’t have a criminal case or the perpetrator hasn’t been caught, you still may be able to file a personal injury claim because the standard of proof is lower with personal injury lawsuits than it is with criminal cases.
Next: Compensation for Sexual Assault Victims in Texas
If you are a victim of sexual assault, we urge you to explore your legal options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.