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In California, sexual abuse is a very broad term that can apply to any activity that was meant to stimulate the perpetrator or a third party who is not necessarily participating in the action. These activities range from inappropriate touching to sexual assault. Sexual assault also has a wide definition, and it occurred if someone performed the following actions without your consent:
• Touched your genitals
• Penetrated your anus or vagina with an object
• Forced you to have anal, oral or vaginal sex
In many cases, survivors intimately know the people who committed the above-described acts, but this does not absolve them of responsibility. Anyone can be charged with sex crimes against others even though they are in positions of authority. This includes the medical staff at a hospital or nursing facility. Teachers and religious leaders can be accused of abusing or assaulting the children in their care. These crimes also happen on college campuses when one student assaults another after a date. It even occurs at home when a husband, for example, forces his wife to engage in sexual intercourse without her consent.
You may be wary of reporting what has been done to you because you are embarrassed, or you may believe that you caused it to happen. These sentiments are common, and they can be overcome. A personal injury attorney is going to be your advocate who will only work with your best interests in mind. You will never have to undergo any part of this process on your own.
At the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat, we have experienced lawyers who will investigate your case thoroughly to be able to demonstrate the defendant’s guilt to a judge or jury. To do this in civil court, our lawyers will need to show that the defendant is liable for your injuries and/or losses by presenting evidence under three different elements.
According to California Civil Code 1708.5, a defendant is liable under the first element if your lawyer can demonstrate one of the following:
• The defendant touched your intimate areas with the intention of causing harm or offending you in an indirect or direct manner.
• The defendant used your groin, anus, buttocks, breast or sexual organs to intentionally cause harm or offend you.
• The defendant purposely caused you to believe that he or she intends to harm or offend you by coming in contact with your intimate body parts.Touched your genitals
Under the second element, your lawyer will need to show that you did not consent to being touched by the defendant.
Under the third element, your lawyer will demonstrate how you have been harmed or offended by the defendant’s actions.
Some people believe that they were not assaulted or abused because they gave consent to the perpetrator at the beginning of the encounter. However, something extra may have occurred that caused you to ask the perpetrator to stop. The civil code includes this scenario as well, and it allows you to sue and hold the accused accountable if he or she did not end the sexual activity when asked.
The civil code provides assault and abuse survivors with several ways to obtain monetary compensation when the defendant is found liable in an assault or abuse case. A judge awards punitive damages after he or she determines that the defendant acted in a “vile, contemptible and/or despicable” manner. Their purpose is to punish the defendant and prevent him or her from repeating these criminal actions.
Special damages are meant to compensate you for any money you spent after the incident. For example, you may have needed to attend therapy or see a doctor because of your injuries, and special damages cover these costs. They can also include any money that you may spend in the future because of this issue.
General damages are non-economic damages that include pain and suffering, disfigurement and humiliation. Although they are known as "non-economic damages," you will be compensated with an appropriate sum of money.
The perpetrator may not be the only person who is responsible for your pain and suffering. Sometimes, other people contributed to the actions of the accused, such as an employer who knew or should have known that the accused was a danger to others.
Healthcare workers, for example, are employed by corporate entities, and they have the obligation to implement background checks on prospective employees. However, some employers neglect to do this, or they fail to complete these investigations. If the employer does not adequately supervise these employees, they have many opportunities to take advantage of patients. Therefore, the employer can be required to take responsibility for any assaults or abuses that occur.
A danger may also exist at attractions that cater to children. Employers at these types of businesses do not always do background checks to ensure that their future employees do not have a history of molestation. While the employee in question is working, they may observe disturbing behavior between the employee and the young guests. If the employers fail to immediately release the employee from his or her duties, they may be held liable for any assaults or abuses that take place.
As you may imagine, it can be very difficult to demonstrate the three elements that were listed above, but it is not impossible. Steven M. Sweat, APC has been defending survivors of sexual abuse and assault for over two decades. Furthermore, the attorneys in his office have a combined 40 years of experience as personal injury lawyers. They know exactly what they must do to bring the person who violated you and his or her employer to justice.
Mr. Steven Sweat has been very successful in obtaining monetary compensation for his clients. He is an accomplished litigator who has won several verdicts that resulted in monetary damages in the six and seven figures. He also has extensive experience settling cases for six and seven figures when this was the most appropriate action.
If you have been sexually abused or a loved one has been, contact Steven M. Sweat, APC at 888-509-8963 and make sure that the person who hurt you or your loved one takes responsibility for his or her actions.